Breaking News on the CARES Act: The Reporting Deadline is Coming and the Threshold has Dropped

The CARES Act Terms & Conditions

The first round of CARES Act stimulus funds was deposited without any action being required on your part.  You were required to accept certain Terms and Conditions if you applied for additional funding in round two.  But even if you did not check a box or sign an agreement, if you did not return the money, you automatically accepted the Terms and Conditions which were attached to it.  Now, one of those conditions is coming into play.

The Terms and Conditions of the CARES Act provider stimulus payments includes a requirement for those receiving more than $150,000 to submit reports to the Committee, and others to report “as required by the Secretary”.  The Secretary of HHS has now expanded who will be required to account for CARES Act and other COVID-related relief funds, and the threshold for reporting is going to be much lower. 

The $150k reporting threshold plummets to $10k

The reporting, which will begin in January of 2021 for all funds received and spent in 2020, will be required of all who have received a total of $10,000 or more. The Terms state that this includes any funds received from HHS under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economics Security Act (“CARES”), the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, or any other Act primarily making appropriations for the coronavirus response.  Therefore, this lowered threshold will likely mean that almost every EMS and ambulance agency will have to follow the reporting requirements. 

What will reporting look like?

When we contacted the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee about these reports, the response we received stated: “Under the CARES Act, each agency is responsible for providing user-friendly means for covered recipients to meet requirements of this subsection. The Committee is coordinating with agencies regarding this requirement.”  This coordination is an on-going process, and the most recent announcement still does not have all of the answers.  However, more details about how this reporting will look are to be announced on August 17th.  We anticipate that reporting will be accomplished through an online portal with question-driven data entry.  While we do not know exactly what this portal will look like or what questions they may ask, we do know what the Terms and Conditions state.  According to the Terms, reports shall contain:

  1. the total amount of funds received from HHS under each of the foregoing enumerated Acts;
  2. the amount of funds received that were expended or obligated for each project or activity;
  3. a detailed list of all projects or activities for which large covered funds were expended or obligated, including: the name and description of the project or activity, and the estimated number of jobs created or retained by the project or activity, where applicable; and
  4. detailed information on any level of sub-contracts or subgrants awarded by the covered recipient or its subcontractors or subgrantees, to include the data elements required to comply with the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 allowing aggregate reporting on awards below $50,000 or to individuals, as prescribed by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Stay Tuned

The threshold has changed who will be required to report, so a change in what will be required to report should certainly not come as a surprise.  We will know more after August 17th, and there may even be an opportunity to raise questions and objections that ultimately affect the final reporting requirements, so watch for future announcements from PWW. 

Also, join us for the Virtual abc360 Conference in October, where we will have a detailed analysis of all of the CARES Act requirements, spending limitations, reporting obligations, and potential for audits and recoupments, as well as a host of other topics critical to your reimbursement and compliance.  CLICK HERE for more info.

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