HHS announces $20 billion in provider relief funding

Practices can begin applying for the funds Oct. 5.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced $20 billion in new funding through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) meant for providers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

According to a news release, under this Phase 3 general distribution allocation, physicians who have already received Provider Relief Fund payments are invited to apply for additional funding. Those who were previously ineligible, such as those who began practicing in 2020 are also invited to apply as well as an expanded group of behavioral health providers confronting mental health and substance abuse issues made worse by the pandemic.

The application process begins Oct. 5 and ends Nov. 6.

“HHS has worked to ensure that all American healthcare providers receive support from the Provider Relief Fund in a fast and fair way, and this new round helps ensure that we are reaching America’s essential behavioral health providers and takes into account losses and expenses relating to coronavirus,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar says in the release. “We’ve worked with all of the resources we have across HHS to ensure that America’s heroic healthcare providers know they can apply for support.”

The providers eligible for the Phase 3 funding include:

  • Physicians who have previously received, rejected, or accepted general distribution Provider Relief Fund payment and those who have already received payments of about two percent of annual revenue can submit more information to become eligible for additional payment
  • Behavioral health providers, including those that previously received funding and new providers
  • Physicians who have begun practicing between Jan. 1 and March 31 this year

According to the release, the criteria for the Phase 3 payments will be:

  1. All provider submissions will be reviewed to confirm they have received a Provider Relief Fund payment equal to approximately 2 percent of patient care revenue from prior general distributions. Applicants that have not yet received Relief Fund payments of 2 percent of patient revenue will receive a payment that, when combined with prior payments (if any), equals 2 percent of patient care revenue.
  2. With the remaining balance of the $20 billion budget, HRSA will then calculate an equitable add-on payment that considers the following:
    1. A provider’s change in operating revenues from patient care
    2. A provider’s change in operating expenses from patient care, including expenses incurred related to coronavirus
    3. Payments already received through prior Provider Relief Fund distributions.
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