The Department of Health and Human Services is remaining quiet on how and when it plans to redistribute the approximate $24 billion of what’s left in the Provider Relief Fund.

“We recognize the importance of the Provider Relief Fund for long-term care providers,” an HHS spokesman told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News on Wednesday.  

“HHS is committed to distributing these funds to providers as quickly and equitably as possible to address lost revenues and increased expenses attributable to COVID-19 while maintaining strong safeguards for taxpayer dollars. We will provide further updates as soon as they are available,” the spokesman added. 

Nursing homes and assisted living have received about $14 billion of the $178 billion fund to date, with the last allocation coming in December. Providers have since grown impatient with HHS’ inaction on the matter.

The American Health Care Association speculated in early June nursing homes and other long-term care providers would soon see “positive news” but no distributions have been made.

“With the Delta variant spreading rapidly throughout the country, long-term care providers need the resources now more than ever so they can continue their efforts to protect vulnerable residents,” AHCA said in a statement Tuesday. 

HHS is also facing pressure from other government agencies to offer more details on its plans for the remaining funding. The Government Accountability Office in late July criticized the agency for not having a clear timely on for the leftover coronavirus relief funds and called for it to have better communication about its distribution plans.

An AHCA survey found that just 25% of operators are confident they can last just a year or longer due to the financial challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.