Health Providers Eligible for $25 Billion in Covid Relief Funds


September 10, 2021 12:33 pm

Doctors, hospitals, and other health-care providers are eligible for a new release of $25.5 billion in pandemic assistance, the Health and Human Services Department announced Friday.

Of the funds, $17 billion will go to providers who can show they have lost revenue and expenditures between July 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. Another $8.5 billion, included in the March $1.9 trillion pandemic-related stimulus package known as the American Rescue Plan Act, will go to doctors and other health workers who serve rural Medicare and Medicaid patients.

“This funding critically helps health care providers who have endured demanding workloads and significant financial strains amidst the pandemic,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “The funding will be distributed with an eye towards equity, to ensure providers who serve our most vulnerable communities will receive the support they need.”

The $17 billion will go to smaller providers “who tend to operate on thin margins and often serve vulnerable or isolated communities” at a higher rate than larger providers. Facilities that serve Medicare and Medicaid patients will also get bonus payments, at Medicare payment rates, “to ensure equity for those serving low-income children, pregnant women, people with disabilities, and seniors.”

The $8.5 billion will go to providers based on the amount of services they provide to rural Medicare and Medicaid patients, also based on Medicare payment rates.

Acting Health Resources and Services Administrator Diana Espinosa said, “We are committed to distributing this funding as equitably and transparently as possible to help providers respond to and ultimately defeat this pandemic.”

Providers can begin applying for funds Sept. 29.

The HHS also released how it calculated previous payments from the last phase of the Provider Relief Fund, the congressionally approved fund administered by the HHS that’s designed to help health-care entities that have financially struggled during the pandemic. Providers can request their payments be reconsidered if they believe it wasn’t calculated correctly.

Health providers will also have an additional 60 days to meet the fund’s reporting requirements due to “recent natural disasters and the Delta variant,” the HHS said.