Notice: HFS has extended the final reporting deadline from January 31, 2021 to April 16, 2021 in order to allow time for closeout and reconciliation. Please see updates to FAQs 31 and 33. The Illinois HFS CARES application period is now closed. Applications that were fully submitted prior to closure of the portal can still be accessed via this portal to track status and respond to follow-up questions and requests.

If you need assistance in completing or reviewing your application, please contact the HFS CARES Support Line at (866) 385-0600.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Q: When/how can I apply for the State CARES Pandemic Related Stability Payments Program for Funds Made Available Through the Federal CARES Act (the “HFS CARES Program”)?

    A: Enrolled Medicaid healthcare providers with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (“HFS”) can apply for financial assistance by submitting an online application through the HFS CARES Portal which can be found here. In the meantime, applicants can create a portal log-in and begin reviewing/collecting required applications documents to be submitted.

  2. Q: Who can I contact for questions or assistance with the online portal?

    A: The IL Support Line is available to assist applicants with questions regarding the HFS CARES Program from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST, Monday through Friday at (866) 385-0600. Call center support is available in English and Spanish.

  3. Q: When is the application deadline?

    A: The HFS CARES Portal will be open until October 31, 2020. This date may be extended at the discretion of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

  4. Q: What are the eligibility requirements?

    A: Enrolled Medicaid healthcare providers operating in the State of Illinois that incurred expenses related to the pandemic associated with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency issued by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on January 31, 2020 and the national emergency issued by the President of the United States on March 13, 2020 between March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020 may be eligible to receive financial assistance. Additional eligibility criteria may apply for specific providers as outlined in the HFS CARES Program found here.

  5. Q: Can a provider that ceased operation due to COVID still receive funding?

    A: An enrolled Medicaid healthcare provider that was forced to close due to impacts directly related to COVID-19 may still be eligible to receive funding. Recipients of funding must still comply with the Terms and Conditions related to permissible uses of payments and any other Terms and Conditions of their Subaward Agreement with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

  6. Q: What are the eligible expenses under the program?

    A: Eligible expenses under the program consists of necessary costs incurred due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Examples of necessary costs include expenses related to providing PPE for employees or customers, hand sanitizer, cleaning products, deep cleaning services, equipment associated with establishing social distancing within a business establishment. Refer to the HFS CARES Program found here for a listing of eligible expense categories by provider type.

  7. Q: How many providers will be able to receive assistance?

    A: Licensed Medicaid healthcare providers operating in the State of Illinois will have the opportunity to apply for assistance, but not all will be eligible for funding. The application form will inform you whether you are eligible to submit an application based on the TIN provided. Funding will be awarded based on applicants meeting the eligibility criteria outlined in the HFS CARES Program here.

  8. Q: How much funding is a provider able to receive through the program?

    A: Eligible providers receive a funding award based on a formula that is determined by provider type, location, amount of other Coronavirus relief funds received from other sources, and other criteria as set forth in the HFS CARES Program found here. As such, the amount of funding available to each provider may vary.

  9. Q: What documents will I need to submit my application?

    A: Depending on your provider type, you may be asked to complete a form template providing information, costs and budgets at a per facility level. Please see the HFS CARES Program found here for details. If awarded funds, you will also be required to submit financial reports as requested and in the format required by the Department, including supporting documentation and copies of any reporting for other sources of funding and financial recovery from COVID-19 as part of HFS post award monitoring procedures.

  10. Q: How will I submit the required documents?

    A: Applicants will be able to submit required documents online as part of their application submission through the HFS CARES Portal. Applicants in need of technical assistance with submission of applications through the online portal can contact the IL Support Line at (866) 385-0600 (toll free) with any questions between 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. CST, Monday through Friday.

  11. Q: Are there any requirements for applicants that are awarded funds?

    A: Applicants who are awarded funds will be required to execute a Subaward Agreement with HFS and agree to the terms and conditions of the agreement. An example of the Subaward Agreement, including its terms and conditions can be found here.

  12. Q: Are sole proprietors eligible to receive financial assistance?

    A: Yes, sole proprietors (self-employed; no employees; also known as 1099 employees) who are enrolled Medicaid healthcare providers operating in the State of Illinois who are otherwise able to meet all eligibility requirements as outlined in the HFS CARES Program found here are eligible.

  13. Q: I have more than one medical facility located in the State of Illinois. Can I submit more than one application for assistance?

    A: Maybe. Applicants will be asked to submit a single application for all facilities or providers who roll up under the same common Tax Identification Number (TIN) which currently receives Medicaid payments from the Illinois State Comptroller. If you operate multiple distinct taxable entities, who operate, incur costs, budget, record revenue as separate entities and currently receive Medicaid payments from the Illinois State Comptroller, you may submit an application for each TIN.

  14. Q: If an applicant healthcare provider bills for care under a single TIN that provides care across multiple different facilities and submits an application under that TIN, can the parent organization report patient revenue for every facility that bills underneath the TIN in a single application?

    A: Yes. If an applicant healthcare provider bills for care under a single TIN that provides care across multiple different facilities, the parent organization may report patient revenue for every facility that bills underneath the TIN within a single application. However, depending on the provider type, you may be asked to complete a form template providing information, costs and budgets at a per facility level. Please see the HFS CARES Program found here for details.

  15. Q: How do I determine my provider type when submitting my application?

    A: Applicant should select the principal provider type associated with the TIN used to submit the application. Provider types are defined as follows:

    • Long Term Care Facilities (LTCF) –
      • Nursing Homes, Home Health Agencies, Supportive Living Facilities, Intermediate Care Facilities for individuals with Development Disabilities (ICF/DD), Skilled Nursing Facilities and Community Integrated Living Arrangements (CILA), Medically Complex for the Developmentally Disabled facilities (MC/DDs)
    • Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC)
    • Specialized Mental Health Rehabilitation Facilities (SMHRF)
    • Medical Assistance Providers – Hospital
    • Medical Assistance Providers – Physician
      • Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, Podiatrists, Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses and Healthy Kids (EPSDT) providers
    • Medical Assistance Providers – Transportation
    • Medical Assistance Providers – Community Behavioral Health
      • Including Substance Use Disorder facilities
    • Medical Assistance Providers – Dentists
    • Medical Assistance Providers – Other
      • Providers who do not fit into one of the above categories
  16. Q: Will I have to repay my provider assistance award?

    A: Funds will be awarded as other financial assistance. As long as the funds are used for eligible expenses and are spent on December 30, 2020, you will not have to repay your award. You will be required to return any unspent funds or funds which were not used in accordance with the HFS CARES Program requirements.

  17. Q: Will an applicant be able to receive an award if they’ve previously received other coronavirus relief funding?

    A: Applicants may still be eligible to receive an award to support eligible expenses so long as such expenses are not covered or reimbursed by other forms of assistance received (or expected to be received).

  18. Q: Will I be able to save and come back to my application?

    A: Yes. Once you establish your username and password log-in to start a new application, you’ll be able save your application to finish at a later time.

  19. Q: What happens after I submit my application?

    A: You will receive email notification confirmation upon submission of an application. From there, the HFS processing team will review your application for completion and follow-up via email to receive missing documentations or additional information that may be needed. Once your completed application has been reviewed for eligibility, you will be notified via email if you have been approved.

  20. Q: How can I check on the status of my application?

    A: In addition to email updates from the HFS processing team, applicants can check the status of an application through the online portal.

  21. Q: How/when will I receive my financial assistance, if approved?

    A: Upon notification that your application has been approved, you will be required to sign a Subaward Agreement with HFS. Payment will occur after the Subaward Agreement is received by HFS.

  22. Q: Will my provider type receive an automatic payment?

    A: No, if your provider type has not received automatic payments within the three groups already sent out in Round 1 payments -- Safety-Net hospitals, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and long-term care residential facilities such as nursing homes -- you are encouraged to apply at the CARES portal to be considered for funding.

  23. Q: Will there be any further automatic payments?

    A: Future payments will be based on eligible applicants submitting the necessary information through the CARES portal.

  24. Q: I received more than one voucher, does this mean the funds should be used for different purposes?

    A: For Round 1 funding, it is possible that multiple payments are a result of split payments, to be consistent with the State appropriation requirements for disproportionately impacted areas and general. Both payments should total the amount in the Subaward Agreement. The purposes are the same regardless of the amount of money or number of payments; however, please contact the Department via email at HFS.CARES@illinois.gov for further information on which specific facilities were intended to receive which funds.

  25. Q: I have multiple facilities and received more than one payment. How do I know which payments are for which facilities?

    A: For Round 1 funding, payments were made at the Tax Identification Level, not the facility level. Further, it is possible that multiple payments are the result of split payments to be consistent with the State appropriation requirements for disproportionately impacted areas and general. Please contact the Department via email at HFS.CARES@illinois.gov for further information on specific facilities that were intended to receive specific funds.

  26. Q: I received a payment and I need help identifying it.

    A: If you received an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) from the Illinois Comptroller for this purpose, it may not have a remittance line, or the remittance line may indicate: CARES payment. A breakdown of the total awards by entity will be posted to the dedicated CARES payment website on the HFS website at https://www.illinois.gov/hfs/Pages/CARESUpdatePage.aspx.

  27. Q: How will the Department determine the total funding specifically available to potential subrecipients?

    A: CARES payments will be distributed based on a schedule and framework to be established by the Department with recognition of the pandemic related acuity of the situation for each provider, taking into account the factors including, but not limited to, the following:

    • the impact of the pandemic on patients served, impact on staff, and shortages of the personal protective equipment necessary for infection control efforts for all providers;
    • providers with high incidences of COVID-19 among staff, or patients, or both;
    • pandemic related workforce challenges and costs associated with temporary wage increased associated with pandemic related hazard pay programs, or costs associated with which providers do not have enough staff to adequately provide care and protection to the residents and other staff;
    • providers with significant reductions in utilization that result in corresponding reductions in revenue as a result of the pandemic, including but not limited to the cancellation or postponement of elective procedures and visits; and
    • pandemic related payments received directly by the providers through other federal resources.

    The Department encourages applicants to utilize the available fields in the application to list and otherwise describe the impact of the pandemic on your healthcare response, preparation and delivery capacity.

  28. Q: How long will I have to use the payment(s) from the Department?

    A: Payments can be used to reimburse subrecipients for eligible actual costs incurred between the period of March 1 and December 30, 2020.

  29. Q: When is the signed agreement due?

    A: The signed agreements are requested as soon as possible. The deadline has been extended to October 16, 2020 for all Round 1 subrecipients. Please submit the signed agreement once signed, even if the required budget may take a few days longer to finalize and submit. All signed subaward agreements and Round 1 budgets should be submitted to HFS.CARES@illinois.gov.

  30. Q: I will not execute the agreement and need to return the funds. How do I do this?

    A: Please e-mail HFS.CARES@illinois.gov to indicate your decision to return the funds and remit the funds to Attention: Receipt Accounting at Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, Bureau of Fiscal Operations, 2200 Churchill Road A-2, Springfield, Illinois 62702.

  31. Q: What are the reporting requirements?

    A: Subrecipients are required to submit a final report no later than April 16, 2021 to the Department including:

    • The HFS Final Reporting Template to record expenditures here.
      • Summary narrative description of how funds were utilized and their impact.
      • Itemized list of non-construction and construction expenditures including type, description, vendor (if applicable), dollar amount, date incurred.
      • Documentation to support the payment of the itemized expenditures
    • A cover letter using the provided Word template, (on organization letterhead if available) here.
    • Identification of the dollar amount of any unspent funds (if applicable)
      • Unspent funds should be remitted to: Attention: Receipt Accounting at Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, Bureau of Fiscal Operations, 2200 Churchill Road A-2, Springfield, Illinois 62702.
    • Copies of any reporting to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) on Provider Relief Funds (“PRF”), Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) Streamlined Project Applications, and any other reporting for other sources of funding for financial recovery from COVID-19.

    The HFS CARES Program portal will be the system used for post-award reporting described above. Subrecipients should register in the portal and use the portal for reporting to the Department.

  32. Q: Is there a budget template to be used for the sub-agreement for the COVID funds? Is there a specific format that should be used?

    A: A separate budget is required to be submitted by Round 1 subrecipients.

    • The budget template will be posted to the dedicated HFS CARES payment website in excel format at https://www.illinois.gov/hfs/Pages/CARESUpdatePage.aspx. Subrecipients should use this template which fulfills the requirements.
    • Round 1 subrecipients should return the populated budget template no later than October 16, 2020.
    • Applicants will not be required to submit a separate budget template for Round 2 and costs will be included in the application form submitted through the CARES portal.

  33. Q: When are reports due?

    A: Subrecipients are required to submit final reporting no later than April 16, 2021 to the Department. Reporting templates and additional guidance can be found here. The template for the required cover letter can be found here.

  34. Q: If my actual increase in costs was reimbursed by other state or federal funding sources, do I still need to include the amount of the increase in my application?

    A: Yes. Include the entire amount of actual increased costs for all expense categories regardless of your COVID-19 related funding from other state and federal sources. This will allow the Department to properly assess your financial need and help to maximize your funding award.

  35. Q: Are there definitions for the types of eligible costs, such as hazard pay, etc.?

    A: The Department has established broad cost categories for reimbursement of eligible health care related expenditures in order to maximize flexibility for subrecipients. Round 1 subrecipient can find the categories of eligible costs in the budget template. Round 2 applicants can find the categories of eligible cost in the application form.

  36. Q: What expenses are not eligible for reimbursement?

    A: The Department has established broad cost categories for reimbursement of eligible health care expenditures in order to maximize flexibility for subrecipients. The following are examples of expenses ineligible for reimbursement:

    • Revenue replacement;
    • Expenses that have been or will be reimbursed under any other federal COVID programs;
    • Reimbursement to donors for donated items or services;
    • Workforce bonuses other than hazard pay or overtime;
    • Severance pay;
    • Legal settlements.

  37. Q: Can I use the subaward payment to reimburse for lost revenue caused by the pandemic?

    A: Federal guidance places certain limitations on how federal award funds may be expended. Since the State CARES Pandemic Related Stability Payments Program is an extension of the US Treasury’s Coronavirus Relief Fund, Treasury requirements are applicable to HFS Subrecipients and do not permit lost revenue as a use of federal funds. Subawards are required to be spent for the reimbursement of actual costs incurred between the period of March 1 and December 30, 2020, examples of which include expenses such as payroll, mortgage, rent, healthcare supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE).

    • The Department is taking into account numerous factors, including reductions in utilization that result in corresponding reductions in revenue as a result of the pandemic, in the determination of the payment amounts.
    • HFS payments must be used to cover health care expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic and expenditures made despite losses of revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lost revenue is not an acceptable use of the award payments. The payments are required to be spent for the reimbursement of actual costs incurred between March 1 and December 30, 2020.

  38. Q: Can the deadline be extended beyond December 30th?

    A: The deadline to spend the funds on the reimbursement of expenses is December 30th. The Department will continue to evaluate information that may impact the program and related deadlines.

  39. Q: If an entity contracts for an annual software subscription that is completed and paid for before December 30th but that will last into 2021, can the cost of the entire annual subscription be reimbursed using payments from the Department?

    A: The portion of the annual contract used between March 1 and December 30, 2020 is eligible for reimbursement under the subaward agreement.

  40. Q: Are indirect costs allowable?

    A: Payments can be used to reimburse subrecipients for eligible actual costs incurred between the period of March 1 and December 30, 2020. Subrecipients may not apply indirect cost rates to HFS CARES payments.

  41. Q: When reporting costs for March 1, 2020 through July 31, 2020 and for August 1, 2020 through December 30, 2020 should I report increased costs or total costs? If increased costs, is the August to December 30, 2020 period in comparison to March through July 31, 2020 or to our expectations/budget prior to COVID-19?

    A: Applicants should report all costs in the eligible cost categories for each period to allow the Department to properly assess the financial need of each applicant. Applicants do not need to compare or determine the amount of increased costs between the periods of March through July 31, 2020 and August through December 30, 2020.

  42. Q: What constitutes “hazard pay” and can we retroactively pay our employees “hazard pay” for work they have previously performed during the pandemic since March 1, 2020?

    A: Hazard pay is additional pay for performing hazardous duty or work involving physical hardship, in each case that is related to COVID-19. See Treasury’s FAQs #29 and #38 as of October 19, 2020 here. The Department would suggest that applicants follow their own internal policies regarding hazard pay. 

  43. Q: Do other bonuses, such as appreciation bonuses, qualify as eligible expenditures?

    A: No. General workforce bonuses, other than hazard pay and overtime, are not eligible for reimbursement.

  44. Q: What is the difference between “awarded” amounts and “eligible” amounts as it relates to prior funding received from Federal and State sources, such as Provider Relief Funds (PRF) and Pay Check Protection Programs (PPP) in the application?

    A: Awarded amounts are those amounts which the provider has already received or been awarded. Eligible amounts are those which the provider has applied for and expects to receive (if known), other than through the HFS CARES Program.

  45. Q: For reporting the number of single and double occupancy rooms for long term care providers, should providers report the actual number of single and double occupancy use or the type of occupancy the room/unit/apartment is eligible for?

    A: Applicants should report the eligible use of the room/unit.

  46. Q: When reporting the total number of Medicaid patients and total patients between March 1, 2020 and July 31, 2020, do we report based on the total number of unique patients seen in that period, unique patients each month or some other method?

    A: Applicants should report based on the total number of encounters occurring between March 1, 2020 and July 31, 2020.

  47. Q: When reporting the total number of COVID-19 positive patients or residents served between March 1, 2020 and July 31, 2020, how should we determine which patients or residents to include?

    A: Applicants should report based on the total number of patients or residents served at the provider’s location or facility, or in the case of providers who provide in home services, the patients or residents served in their homes. Patients which only received drive through, or off-site testing should not be included.

  48. Q: When reporting the total number of Medicaid patients, should this include traditional Medicaid patients only or should we also include Managed Medicaid patients? Should “Medicaid pending” patients be included?

    A: Applicants should include both traditional Medicaid patients and Managed Medicaid patients. Medicaid Pending patients may be included to the extent the applicant has reviewed the individual’s overall eligibility and believes they would be Medicaid eligible.

  49. Q: When reporting total revenues for the requested periods, what revenue should be reported?

    A: Applicants should report net patient revenues. For amounts which have not yet been received, applicants should report the expected reimbursement.

  50. Q: When reporting rent, should I report all rent budgeted since rent would not have changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic? Do related party principles need to be applied such that only applicants only report related party company interest and depreciation in lieu of rent paid in those situations?

    A: Applicants should report all costs in the eligible cost categories to allow the Department to properly assess the financial need of each applicant. Amounts reported should be for the actual amount expended by or expected to be expended by the applicant/entity which received the award and executed the subaward agreement.

  51. Q: If a provider does not submit their budget for Round 1 funding by October 16, 2020, is there a penalty? If so, does the penalty still apply even if the provider expects to be able to use the funds on eligible expenses and submit a budget?

    A: Currently, the Department is not assessing penalties for late submissions of Round 1 budgets; however, subrecipients should return their completed budget as soon as possible. Completed budgets should be submitted to HFS.CARES@illinois.gov.

  52. Q: When reporting payroll expenses, should I report all payroll expenses or only the portion that is over and above our budgeted salaries (i.e. increased amounts due to COVID-19)?

    A: Applicants should report all healthcare related payroll expenses, including any hazard pay or overtime, excluding those expenses which are specifically not eligible for reimbursement, such as workforce bonuses.

  53. Q: If I operate a business or entity which provides direct patient care as well as other non-health care related services (such as a university with multiple departments, some of which provide direct patient care and some of which provide student instruction), are expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic which were incurred by the non-health care related departments eligible for reimbursement as well? For example, if a department that normally does not provide direct patient care incurred expenses related to COVID-19 testing and/or tracing the spread of cases in order to identify and decrease the spread of the virus, should those costs be included when filing an application?

    A: The HFS CARES Program is intended to provide support to Medicaid healthcare providers who have been economically injured by the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, entities such as those described above should only include those expense incurred or planned by those departments which provide direct patient care.

  54. Q: Why is there a requirement that subrecipients be registered in the Federal System for Award Management (“SAM” or "SAM.gov”) and the Illinois Grant Accountability and Transparency Act Grantee Portal (the “GATA Portal”) as part of the subaward agreement?

    A: Registration in the Federal System for Award Management (“SAM” or "SAM.gov”) and the Illinois Grant Accountability and Transparency Act Grantee Portal (the “GATA Portal”) is required to comply with Illinois State requirements.

  55. Q: If I operate multiple types of facilities, such as ICF/DD facilities in additional CILA homes, and received a payment specific to the ICF/DD facilities, am I required to isolate my COVID-19 expenditures to those facilities and homes? If I am unable to do so, should I still execute the subaward agreement or do I need to return the funds received?

    A: Subrecipients will need to provide documentation sufficient to isolate the eligible expenditures being claimed during monitoring and reporting. To the extent that an expenditure being claimed benefited multiple facilities or entities, some of which were not awarded funds, the subrecipient will need to provide documentation that supports their claim and rational for the portion of such expenditure they are claiming as an eligible expense. Subrecipients will be required to return any unspent funds or funds which they are unable to support with an eligible expenditure.

  56. Q: Are providers of residential services, such as CILA group homes and training programs for individuals with disabilities, eligible to submit an application for the HFS CARES Program?

    A: Providers who provide Elderly, Adult, Disability, HIV/AIDS, Children’s support, Children’s residential and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) residential services may be eligible for the HFS CARES Program. Organizations which provide these services can register an account and attempt to submit an application using the Tax Identification number they receive payment through from the Department’s sister agencies. Organizations which are able to start and submit an application should select Long Term Care when identifying their provider type in the application.

  57. Q: Is my subaward subject to Single Audit requirements?

    A: Based on the Treasury FAQ No. 13 located here and the OMB Compliance Supplement located here, it is the understanding of HFS that CARES Payments supported by the Coronavirus Relief Fund are not subject so the Single Audit requirements and would not contribute to the sum of federal expenditures per 31 USC 7501-7507 and 2 CFR 200 Subpart F. Providers who receive funds from CARES Payments would be considered “beneficiaries of an assistance program” per Treasury and therefore the CARES Payments are excluded. Please note that if your organization expended other federal funds, in total, in excess of $750,000 during your organization’s fiscal year, you may be subject to the Single Audit requirements.

Have additional questions?

The HFS CARES FAQs will continue to be updated with new questions and more information throughout the program. Please continue to check back for updates.

In the meantime, the IL Support Line is also available to assist providers with questions regarding the HFS CARES Program from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST, Monday through Friday at (866) 385-0600.