HHS announces $20 billion in provider relief funding

October 2, 2020

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced $20 billion in new funding for providers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Friday announced $20 billion in new funding for providers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.

This Phase 3 General Distribution providers that have already received Provider Relief Fund payments will be invited to apply for additional funding that considers financial losses and changes in operating expenses caused by the coronavirus.

According to a press release, previously ineligible providers, such as those who began practicing in 2020 will also be invited to apply, and an expanded group of behavioral health providers confronting the emergence of increased mental health and substance use issues exacerbated by the pandemic will also be eligible for relief payments.

Providers can begin applying for funds on Monday, Oct. 5.

“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,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement. “We have worked with all of the resources we have across HHS to ensure that America’s heroic healthcare providers know they can apply for support.”

HHS has already issued more than $100 billion in relief funding to providers through prior distributions. Still, HHS recognizes that many providers continue to struggle financially from COVID-19’s impact. For eligible providers, the new Phase 3 General Distribution is designed to balance an equitable payment of 2 percent of annual revenue from patient care for all applicants plus an add-on payment to account for revenue losses and expenses attributable to COVID-19.

Eligibility

According to the release, providers eligible for funding include:

  1. Providers who previously received, rejected or accepted a General Distribution Provider Relief Fund payment. Providers that have already received payments of approximately 2% of annual revenue from patient care may submit more information to become eligible for an additional payment.
  2. Behavioral Health providers, including those that previously received funding and new providers.
  3. Healthcare providers that began practicing Jan. 1, 2020 through March 31, 2020. This includes Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, dentists, assisted living facilities and behavioral health providers.

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. With the remaining balance of the $20 billion budget, HRSA will then calculate an equitable add-on payment that considers the following:

  • A provider’s change in operating revenues from patient care
  • A provider’s change in operating expenses from patient care, including expenses incurred related to coronavirus
  • Payments already received through prior Provider Relief Fund distributions.

All payment recipients will be required to acknowledge receiving the Phase 3 General Distribution payment and accept the associated terms and conditions.

Beginning Monday, providers have through Nov. 6 to apply for Phase 3 General Distribution.