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April 7, 2022: There may still be hope for providers who accepted federal COVID-19 relief funds but failed to meet the phase I reporting deadline, thanks to a new process for requesting a do-over based on extenuating circumstances. But affected providers shouldn't wait: The window to apply will only be open from April 11 through April 22.

The announcement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Health Resources & Services Administration, or HRSA, is aimed at providers who received CARES Act funds but didn't meet the reporting deadlines they agreed to when they accepted the money. Under the new process, providers can apply for the opportunity to submit their past-due reports based on a list of "extenuating circumstances" that includes illness or death, natural disaster, missent communications, miscommunications, and submission errors. The opportunity ends at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, April 22.

HRSA will review all requests for late submissions but doesn't guarantee that every request will be granted. If the extenuating circumstance application is denied, providers will be subject to recoupment of the funds as outlined in the initial terms and conditions.

Providers who received phase I money were supposed to have reported on how they spent the funds by Sept. 30, 2021; providers who received phase II funds had a March 31 deadline. For now the extenuating circumstances exception applies only to providers who missed the phase I deadline.

The reporting deadline for phase III funds opens on July 1, with phase IV reporting opening Jan. 1, 2023.

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