Blog

Change to Provider Relief Funds FAQs

NRHA wanted to notify you of a change to the Provider Relief Fund on justifying what is allowable under expenses.  Page 21 of the attached FAQ from 9.13.21 has eliminated the term “marginal” in the last sentence (see below).  Providers must still relate and document the expenses claimed (net of other reimbursements) to COVID as noted in this and other FAQs.  This clarification in policy also appears to be consistent with the feedback members are receiving when talking with the HRSA PRF hotline.  

How do I determine if expenses should be considered “expenses attributable to coronavirus not reimbursed by other sources?” (Modified 9/13/2021) 
Expenses attributable to coronavirus may include items such as supplies, equipment, information technology, facilities, personnel, and other health care-related costs/expenses for the period of availability. The classification of items into categories should align with how Provider Relief Fund payment recipients maintain their records. Providers can identify their expenses attributable to coronavirus, and then offset any amounts received through other sources, such as direct patient billing, commercial insurance, Medicare/Medicaid/Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP); other funds received from the federal government, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); the Provider Relief Fund COVID-19 Claims Reimbursement to Health Care Providers and Facilities for Testing, Treatment, and Vaccine Administration for the Uninsured (Uninsured Program); the COVID-19 Coverage Assistance Fund (CAF); and the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Department of the Treasury’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Provider Relief Fund payments may be applied to the remaining expenses or costs, after netting the other funds received or obligated to be received which offset those expenses. The Provider Relief Fund permits reimbursement of marginal increased expenses related to coronavirus provided those expenses have not been reimbursed from other sources or that other sources are not obligated to reimburse. 

NRHA recommends you speak with your financial advisors/council on what this change may mean to your PRF expenditures and reporting. 

Update of COVID-19 Therapeutics from HHS/ASPR

We wanted to share an update from the Department of US Health and Human Services around policies related to allocation, distribution, and administration efforts surrounding the current monoclonal antibody therapeutics available to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Beginning Monday, September 13th HHS made a change to their distribution process to coordinate through a state/territory-coordinated system.  The intent of this change is to maintain equitable distribution, both geographically and temporally providing states and territories with consistent, fairly distributed supply over the coming weeks and while the USG works to procure additional supply.  Key to this change is that administration site (i.e. providers) will not be able to order mAbs directly from the distributor and must work with their state/territory to access the supply.  

Weekly distribution amounts will be determined based on weekly reports of new COVID 19 cases and hospitalizations in addition to data on inventories.  Weekly distribution determinations posted on phe.gov/mabs

HHS Announced 60 Day Grace Period for PRF Reporting

In addition to making $25.5 billion in new funding available for health care providers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, in light of the challenges providers across the country are facing due to recent natural disasters and the Delta variant, HHS (Department of Health & Human Services) announced Friday a final 60-day grace period to help providers come into compliance with their PRF Reporting requirements if they fail to meet the deadline on September 30, 2021, for the first PRF Reporting Time Period.  While the deadlines to use funds and the Reporting Time Period will not change, HHS will not initiate collection activities or similar enforcement actions for noncompliant providers during this grace period.

New Provider Relief Funds available – $25.5 billion

The Biden-Harris Administration announced today that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), is making $25.5 billion in new funding available for health care providers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.  This funding includes $8.5 billion in American Rescue Plan (ARP) resources for providers who serve rural Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or Medicare patients, and an additional $17 billion for Provider Relief Fund (PRF) Phase 4 for a broad range of providers who can document revenue loss and expenses associated with the pandemic.  View the press release for the PRF Phase 4 here.  For more information on eligibility requirements and the application process for PRF Phase 4 and ARP Rural payments, visit: https://www.hrsa.gov/provider-relief/future-payments.

NRHA Events Going Virtual

As an organization serving and consisting of public health leaders, NRHA has a responsibility to abide by and serve as a model for proper health precautions. That is why we have made the difficult decision to shift the association’s Rural Health Clinic and Critical Access Hospital Conferences to a virtual environment.

The fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is hitting harder than anyone expected. While Delta variant forecasts are difficult to project, the situation is unlikely to improve between now and this fall.

For these reasons, we ask for your patience as we transition our RHC and CAH Conferences away from our plans to host in Kansas City. As usual, you can register for these events at reduced virtual rates, and all content will be available Sept. 21-24 and on demand at your convenience for a full year.


View virtual rates here…

At NRHA, the health and well-being of our members and all rural Americans is our top priority. We do not want to risk contributing to the spread of this deadly virus, and we don’t want to place rural health care workers, hospitals, and health systems under any more pressure than they already face. 

We know it is not ideal, but virtual events allow NRHA to present – and you to experience – even more educational content than at an in-person event. NRHA will utilize the same platform as our 2021 Annual Rural Health Conference, by far our most intuitive and seamless virtual environment. 

Though this is certainly not what any of us had planned, we look forward to seeing everyone virtually this fall. Rural America is nothing if not resourceful, and together we will continue to overcome the challenges we face.