As the June 30, 2021 deadline to expend Provider Relief Fund (PRF) draws near, there is still conflicting guidance and no reporting mechanism deadline. In addition, there are still billions of dollars in the PRF yet to be distributed. Hopefully, good news is on the horizon.
On May 11, 2021, 79 Members of Congress wrote a bipartisan letter to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) urging them to:
- Expeditiously issue additional guidance allowing health care providers to utilize their PRF amounts issued due to concerns that existing program requirements limit the impact of relief measures enacted by Congress.
- Extend the June 30, 2021 deadline to spend PRF money.
- Distribute the remaining PRF money as soon as possible to get that assistance to providers quickly, as intended by Congress.
In the letter they wrote:
“It is critical that every dollar of assistance to our health care providers can go as far as possible to keep people safe and healthy, particularly as we see SARS-CoV-2 variants like B.1.1.7 – which is more transmissible and potentially more deadly – account for an increasing share of new coronavirus cases. Providers are still delivering complex care for patients with COVID-19 and coping with higher procurement costs for personal protective equipment (PPE).
While we share your commitment to ensuring PRF funds are not subject to abuse, these guidelines have significant consequences for providers that operate on thin margins and struggle to maintain cash flow. We have heard from providers, like rural health clinics (RHCs), critical access hospitals (CAHs), and urban safety-net hospitals, who have been especially careful to use the PRF only when they have no other choice for fear of being required to return a significant portion of funds back to HHS. This has resulted in hospitals postponing projects that would greatly assist in responding to the pandemic.”
We will keep you posted as more is known. HW&Co. is here to assist you in any way we can. Please visit the HW&Co. COVID-19 Resource Center on our website for additional resources or contact your HW Healthcare Advisor if you need assistance.