Today, the Biden-Harris Administration announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), is making $25.5 billion in new provider relief funding available for healthcare providers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This funding includes $8.5 billion in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) resources for providers who serve rural Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or Medicare patients and $17 billion for Provider Relief Fund (PRF) Phase 4 for a broad range of providers who can document revenue loss and expenses associated with the pandemic.
Consistent with the requirements included in the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2020, PRF Phase 4 payments will be based in part on providers’ lost revenues and coronavirus-related expenditures between July 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. Phase 4 will reimburse smaller providers—who tend to operate on thin margins and often serve vulnerable or isolated communities—for their lost revenues and COVID-19 expenses at a higher rate compared to larger providers. Phase 4 will also include bonus payments based on the amount of services providers furnish to Medicaid/CHIP and Medicare patients, who tend to be lower income and have greater and more complex medical needs. HRSA will price these bonus payments at the generally higher Medicare rates for Medicaid/CHIP patients to ensure equity for those serving low-income children, pregnant women, people with disabilities, and seniors.
In order to expedite and streamline the application process and minimize administrative burdens, providers will apply for both programs in a single application. The application portal will open on September 29, 2021.
Additionally, in light of the challenges providers across the country are facing due to recent natural disasters and the Delta variant, HHS is announcing today a 60-day grace period to help providers come into compliance with their PRF reporting obligations if they fail to meet the September 30, 2021 deadline for the first PRF Reporting Time Period. While the deadlines to use funds and the Reporting Time Period will not change, HHS will not initiate recoupment or similar enforcement actions for noncompliant providers during this grace period.