The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced the release of $25.5 billion in new COVID-19 funding for providers, including $17 billion to be distributed as Phase 4 of the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) and $8.5 billion in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding for rural providers. As in prior rounds, PRF funding must be used to support lost revenues and pandemic-related expenditures between July 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. Phase 4 funds will provide higher levels of funding for smaller providers, recognizing that they often run on thinner margins and serve more vulnerable and isolated communities, as well as providers serving Medicaid, CHIP, and/or Medicare patients. Applications will open September 29, using a single application for both funding programs.
HHS also announced it will give providers a final 60-day grace period to complete required reporting for the first PRF reporting period. The original deadline is September 30, 2021, and HHS will not begin pursuing recoupment or other enforcement actions until the grace period ends November 30, 2021.