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HHS Announces New Provider Fund Distribution & Grace Period for Reporting Obligations

HHS Announces New Provider Fund Distribution & Grace Period for Reporting Obligations

HHS Announces New Provider Fund Distribution & Grace Period for Reporting Obligations

Courtesy of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it will accept applications from providers for new relief funds this week, as well as education for providers to help navigate the application portal.

In addition, there will be a grace period for the reporting deadline of September 30, 2021, for Period 1 recipients of Provider Relief Funds (PRF).

New Distributions

On September 29, 2021, health care providers will be able to apply for $25.5 billion in relief funds, including $8.5 billion in American Rescue Plan (ARP) resources for providers who serve rural patients covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and $17 billion for Provider Relief Fund (PRF) Phase 4 for a broad range of providers with changes in operating revenues and expenses. The application will be open for a period of four weeks. Providers must submit their completed application by the final deadline of October 26 at 11:59 PM ET.

Providers who have previously created an account in the Provider Relief Fund Application and Attestation Portal and have not logged in for more than 90 days will need to first reset their password before starting a new application.

In order to streamline the application process and minimize administrative burdens, 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 based on providers’ changes in operating revenues and expenses from July 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021.
    • To promote equity and to support providers with the most need, HRSA will:
      • Reimburse smaller providers for changes in operating revenues and expenditures at a higher percentage compared to larger providers.
      • Provide “bonus” payments based on the number of services they provide to Medicaid, CHIP, and Medicare patients, priced at the generally higher Medicare rates.
  • American Rescue Plan 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.
    • To promote equity, HRSA will price payments at the generally higher Medicare rates for Medicaid/CHIP patients.

PRF Period 1 Reporting Grace Period

HRSA also recently announced a 60-day grace period for PRF recipients that are unable to meet the September 30, 2021, reporting deadline, allowing providers to remain in compliance by fulfilling the obligations of the reporting deadline prior to November 30, 2021. These providers will not face collection activities or similar enforcement actions during the grace period. The deadline to use Period 1 PRF funds remains June 30, 2021. HRSA also notes that providers must return unused funds as soon as possible after submitting their report, and no later than December 30, 2021.

Phase 4 and ARP Rural Technical Assistance Webcasts

HRSA will be hosting webinar sessions for Phase 4 and ARP Rural applicants, featuring guidance on how to navigate the application portal.

  • Thursday, September 30, 3:00 PM ET (Register)
  • Tuesday, October 5, 3:00 PM ET (Register)
  • Wednesday, October 13, 3:00 PM ET (Register)
  • Thursday, October 21, 3:00 PM ET (Register)

HHS recently hosted a briefing session to provide information about these upcoming funding opportunities. Click here to watch the video.

What is ARP Rural?

ARP Rural funding is intended to help address the disproportionate impact that COVID-19 has had on rural communities and rural health care providers, and funding will be available to providers who serve patients in these communities. ARP Rural payments are administered jointly with the Provider Relief Fund, and eligible applicants can apply through the same Application and Attestation Portal that will be available to apply for the Phase 4 General Distribution to be considered for both opportunities simultaneously.

ARP Rural payments will be determined based on the location of the patients, not the provider. Applicants do not need to verify whether their patients live in an area that meets the definition of rural, and can select whether their organization (including any included subsidiaries) would like to be considered for ARP rural payments during the application process. HRSA will base payments on data already available to it on the amount and type of Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP services provided to rural patients. HRSA will use the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy definition of "rural".

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