Money, Healthcare

Long-term care operators can now begin applying for a share of $25.5 billion in COVID-19 relief money after the application portal for Phase 4 Provider Relief Fund and rural payments opened on Wednesday.

The funding includes $8.5 billion in American Rescue Plan resources for providers who serve rural Medicaid, Medicare or Children’s Health Insurance Program patients, and an additional $17 billion for Provider Relief Fund Phase 4 for providers who can document revenue loss or expenses associated with the pandemic.

The Phase 4 PRF payments are based on lost revenues and expenditures between July 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021. Applicants can use the same portal to apply for either or both types of funds through the Health Resources and Services Administration.

Providers will have about four weeks to apply. The portal closes on Oct. 26 at 11:59 p.m. ET. That’s a shorter period than some previous PRF application windows.

HRSA has said smaller healthcare providers will receive a greater percentage of the PRF payments during this distribution round, while the largest providers will receive the lowest portion of payments. 

Those who receive the funding will have until Dec. 31, 2022, to spend it and will have to report how they used the money between Jan. 1, 2023, and March 31, 2023.  

60-day grace period 

The first reporting deadline for providers who received money during the Phase 1 distribution of the PRF closed on Thursday. However, federal officials are giving providers a 60-day grace period, through Nov. 30, to submit their reports. 

The Department of Health and Human Services said it issued the grace period ““in light of the challenges providers across the country are facing due to recent natural disasters and the Delta variant.” 

The additional time means HHS will not initiate collection activities or similar enforcement actions for non-compliant providers during the grace period.