There is exciting news for residential assisted living owners and operators. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) just announced “the availability of $25.5 billion in COVID-19 provider funding.”
With just about every health care business and assisted living provider affected by the pandemic, the Biden-Harris Administration declared that the HHS will be making an additional $25.5 billion available to these and other health care providers.
This is all part of the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) program, which allows qualified health care, services, and support businesses to apply to receive direct provider payments for “healthcare-related expenses or lost revenues due to coronavirus.”
Additionally, it should be noted that “these distributions do not need to be repaid to the US government, assuming providers comply with the terms and conditions.”
In essence, if your assisted living business experienced lost revenues and/or increased expenses during the pandemic in order to maintain services then this is an opportunity that you will want to explore.
YOUR RAL BUSINESS MATTERS
Your residential assisted living business matters, not only to your residents and their families but also to the federal government. You help shelter and provide quality care for our nation’s seniors, and with the hardships faced over the past year due to the pandemic, the government wants to help support your efforts.
As stated in the press release, “This funding critically helps health care providers who have endured demanding workloads and significant financial strains amidst the pandemic,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “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.”
According to documentation from the Health Resources & Services Administration, the $25.5 billion in relief funds will consist of two main distributions.
$17 billion of the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) will be part of Phase 4 general distribution, “based on providers’ lost revenues and changes in operating expenses from July 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021.”
Additionally, $8.5 billion of the $25.5 billion in relief funds is to be part of the American Rescue Plan (ARP), which allocates resources for providers who serve individuals in rural communities.
SUPPORT FOR SMALLER PROVIDERS
The current administration is showing its commitment to equity, looking to support providers with the most need.
Specifically, “PRF Phase 4 will reimburse smaller providers—who tend to operate on thin margins and often serve vulnerable or isolated communities—for their lost revenues and COVID-19 expenses at a higher rate compared to larger providers.”
To promote equity and to support providers with the most need, HRSA will:
- Reimburse a higher percentage of lost revenues and expenses for smaller providers as compared to larger providers.
- Provide “bonus” payments based on the number of services they provide to Medicaid, CHIP, and Medicare patients, priced at the generally higher Medicare rates.
“HRSA will price these bonus payments at the generally higher Medicare rates to ensure equity for those serving low-income children, pregnant women, people with disabilities, and seniors.”
Acting HRSA Administrator Diana Espinosa affirmed, “We know that this funding is critical for health care providers across the country, especially as they confront new coronavirus-related challenges and respond to natural disasters.” “We are committed to distributing this funding as equitably and transparently as possible to help providers respond to and ultimately defeat this pandemic.”
So far, HHS has distributed almost $120 billion in relief funds since the $2.2 trillion stimulus Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CARES) Act was passed by Congress on March 27, 2020.
Now, with the rise in Covid-19 cases across the nation due to the delta variant, particularly in rural areas, the fourth phase of Provider Relief Funds will begin next week.
Most notably, the application for the American Rescue Plan rural funding as well as the Provider Relief Fund Phase 4 will be combined together to limit administration costs, and this application process will be open on September 29th.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR THE APPLICATION PROCESS
Do you own or operate a residential assisted living home? If so, mark your calendars for the beginning of the application process on Sept. 29th.
And if you would like more information about the application process, eligibility requirements, including information and documentation needed to complete an application, explore the following links:
Residential assisted living businesses spend countless resources to fight COVID and keep their residents safe. This governmental support is critical in helping care providers afford personal protective equipment, compensate ongoing staff services, and acquire testing needed to protect residents, staff, and family members.
Gather necessary supporting documentation, such as the most recent tax documents and financial statements for the second half of the calendar year 2020 and the first quarter of 2021. Prepare to submit your application to access these federal funds, and remember, the application process begins Sept. 29th, 2021.
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