Author: Tony Mira
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), announced $25.5 billion in new funding for health care providers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding includes $8.5 billion in American Rescue Plan (ARP) resources for providers who serve rural Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or Medicare patients, and an additional $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.
The application will open on September 29, 2021. Providers will apply for both programs in a single application and HRSA will use existing Medicaid/CHIP and Medicare claims data in calculating portions of these payments.
• Phase 4 General Distribution – $17 billion will be distributed based on providers’ lost revenues and changes in operating expenses from July 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021.
To promote equity and to support providers with the most need, HRSA will:
● Reimburse a higher percentage of lost revenues and expenses for smaller providers as compared to larger providers.
● Provide “bonus” payments based on the amount of services provided to Medicaid, CHIP, and Medicare patients, priced at the generally higher Medicare rates.
American Rescue Plan (ARP) Rural — $8.5 billion based on the amount of services providers furnish to Medicaid/CHIP and Medicare beneficiaries living in Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP)-defined rural areas.
• Providers can review eligibility information posted on the PRF Future Payments web page Additional detail will be added prior to September 29.Providers can review eligibility information posted on the PRF Future Payments web page Additional detail will be added prior to September 29.
• HHS also released detailed information about the methodology utilized to calculate Phase 3 payments. Providers who believe their Phase 3 payment was not calculated correctly according to this methodology will now have an opportunity to request a reconsideration.
Grace Period for Reporting Period 1
In light of the challenges providers across the country are facing due to recent natural disasters and the Delta variant, HHS is also announcing a final 60-day grace period to help providers come into compliance with 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 collection activities or similar enforcement actions for noncompliant providers during this grace period.