As of the spring of 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has distributed more than $ 150 billion in Provider Relief Fund (PRF) to health care providers that can be used to reimburse their expenses attributable to the COVID-19 or to offset income losses suffered during the pandemic. Providers are required to submit reports on the first PRF funding distributions by September 30, 2021.
On September 10, 2021, the HHS, through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), announced $ 25.5 billion in new funding available for healthcare providers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic . Additionally, HHS also announced a 60-day grace period to help vendors comply with the September 30, 2021 FRP reporting requirements.
$ 25.5 billion in funding from COVID-19 providers
The $ 25.5 billion funding will be broken down as follows: $ 17 billion for “Phase 4” of general PRF distribution for providers who can document lost revenue and expenses associated with the pandemic between the 1st July 2020 and March 31, 2021; and $ 8.5 billion in US Rescue Plan (ARP) resources for providers serving rural patients of Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or Medicare. According to HRSA, 75% of Phase 4 payments will be distributed based on lost revenue and expenses related to COVID between July 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021, with small vendors reimbursed at a higher rate than large vendors . The remaining 25% will be used for bonus payments for providers who serve Medicaid, CHIP and / or Medicare patients.
For rural ARP distribution, HRSA will make payments to providers based on the amount of Medicaid, CHIP, and / or Medicare services they provide to patients living in rural areas. HRSA will use existing data on Medicaid, CHIP, and Medicare claims to calculate payments.
Providers can apply for both programs in one application starting September 29, 2021. To ensure funds are used for patient care, HHS requires PRF grantees to notify the HHS secretary of any merger or acquisition of another healthcare system. provider during the period in which they can use the payments.
60-day grace period for PRF reports
The HHS also announced a 60-day grace period to help suppliers comply with their PRF reporting requirements if they fail to meet the original September 30, 2021 deadline. Specifically, the HHS said that even though the Deadlines for use of funds and the reporting period remain unchanged, HHS will not initiate collection activities or similar enforcement actions against non-compliant vendors during this grace period. The grace period is expected to help ease the time pressure for FRP recipients who are struggling to prepare their reports by September 30, 2021.