New Provider Relief Funding Available
- HHS Announced $4 Billion In Additional Funding for Safety Net Hospitals and Certain Rural Hospitals. On July 10, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced additional targeted funding through the Provider Relief Fund (PRF). The Department will distribute approximately $3 billion in additional funding to safety net hospitals by expanding the initial qualifying criteria. Now, certain hospitals are eligible for this distribution if they meet the revised profitability threshold of less than of 3% averaged consecutively over two or more of the last five cost reporting periods. This will add 214 hospitals to the Safety Net Hospital Distribution. HHS is also expanding the previous rural healthcare provider funding formula to include “certain special rural Medicare designation hospitals in urban areas as well as others who provide care in smaller non-rural communities.” HHS is allocating $1 billion for this distribution, and reports that 479 hospitals will receive this new payment.
- HHS Has Also Opened a Funding Portal for Dentists. In addition to the safety net and rural funding, HHS announced it is opening an application process and portal for dentists who were not previously eligible for PRF funding to receive funds. This is the first time HHS is offering PRF funding to providers that do not serve Medicare or Medicaid patients. Dentists will apply for funding using the same portal that is currently open to Medicaid providers. The success of having the portal open to Medicaid providers and dentists will be a sign of how quickly HHS can expand to other spaces. It is also noteworthy because the Medicaid portal requires significant data entry, so future distributions may also be very data dependent.
- What’s Next With the PRF? We wait to see what other provider specific distributions could be coming our way. Children’s hospitals are candidates for a targeted distribution. HHS may also create a new portal for Medicare providers that missed the second tranche of the General Distribution. Stay tuned!
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