HHS Announces $20 Billion in New Funding

Phase 3 provider relief funding address losses caused by COVID-19

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday announced a fresh round of $20 billion funding for frontline healthcare providers dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new allocation will take into account financial losses and changes in operating expenses caused by the coronavirus, the agency said, adding that providers that have already received relief fund payments can also apply for more funds.

Providers who have recently begun practice and behavioral health providers grappling with a surge in mental health and substance abuse issues since the virus outbreak can also apply.

Under this Phase 3 General Distribution allocation, providers that have already received Provider Relief Fund payments will be invited to apply for additional funding that considers financial losses and changes in operating expenses caused by the coronavirus. Previously ineligible providers, such as those who began practicing in 2020 will also be invited to apply, and an expanded group of behavioral health providers confronting the emergence of increased mental health and substance use issues exacerbated by the pandemic will also be eligible for relief payments.

The move comes as prevalence of symptoms of anxiety and depressive disorders surged in the second quarter compared to a year ago, according to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6932a1.htm.

Providers can begin applying for funds on Monday, October 5, 2020.

“HHS has worked to ensure that all American healthcare providers receive support from the Provider Relief Fund in a fast and fair way, and this new round helps ensure that we are reaching America’s essential behavioral health providers and takes into account losses and expenses relating to coronavirus,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “We’ve worked with all of the resources we have across HHS to ensure that America’s heroic healthcare providers know they can apply for support.”

Since the start of the pandemic, the U.S. government has announced billions of dollars in support for hospitals and medical providers to meet the increased expenses from rising COVID-19 cases and to cover lost revenues due to suspension of medical procedures and routine visits.

HHS is making a large number of providers eligible for Phase 3 General Distribution funding, including:

  • Providers who previously received, rejected or accepted a General Distribution Provider Relief Fund payment. Providers that have already received payments of approximately 2% of annual revenue from patient care may submit more information to become eligible for an additional payment.
  • Behavioral Health providers, including those that previously received funding and new providers.
  • Healthcare providers that began practicing January 1, 2020 through March 31, 2020. This includes Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, dentists, assisted living facilities and behavioral health providers.

SOURCES: US News, HHS

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