Health

HHS releases $2 billion in grants as AHA pleads for more help

Department of Health and Human Services I will do The government announced on Tuesday that an additional $2 billion will be paid into the provider relief fund this week.

But that’s not enough for the American Hospital Association, which is calling on the Joe Biden administration for another $6 billion and Congress for another $25 billion.

However, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration, there is no money left. The remaining $6 billion in the account has already been set aside for purposes such as reviewing previous grants and reimbursement to service providers who have treated uninsured patients, an agency spokesman said in an email. The PRF dollars come from the $178 billion CARES Act that President Donald Trump passed in 2020.

The latest round of grants, known as Phase 4, seeks to recover a higher percentage of losses for smaller providers and offer additional payments to Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and Medicare providers. HHS has allocated $17 billion for the fourth phase.

HHS will send $2 billion to 7,600 providers this week after distributing $9 billion in Phase 4 grants to more than 74,000 providers last month. The agency said in a press release that HRSA has so far processed more than 80% of Phase 4 applications.

We hope the administration can increase the rate of release of funds, said Brenna Jenny, a partner at Sidley Austin, who served as HHS General Counsel for the Trump administration’s Supplier Relief Fund. “Suppliers were understandably frustrated that it took so long for the Biden administration to resume distributing the money they had just been sitting on,” she said.

Although HRSA says all aid funds have been allocated, more transparency is needed. Joanna Hiatt kim, v AHA vice the president from payment politics and analysis. HRSA also did not say how much was allocated to the uninsured fund, she said.
In addition, the hospital trade group wants HHS to give providers more time to spend their PRF grants and allow them to use the money for additional purposes such as safety and training.
And the AHA is lobbying Congress for another $25 billion in Provider Relief Fund grants to compensate providers who continue to incur higher costs and lower revenues as the pandemic continues. According to the association, the latest round is not enough to deal with recent surges of COVID-19.

“The lack of PRF dollars to deal with the delta and omicron spikes has left many hospitals facing huge financial and operational challenges,” AHA. wrote Congressional leaders last week. “This problem is exacerbated by uncertainty and confusion over federal regulations on previously allocated PRF funding, which prevent many providers from using funds within the allotted time frame.”

Hospitals are in serious trouble right now, said Bruce Flantz, president and CEO of MediSys Health Network, a New York-based nonprofit health care provider.

“As an insurance organization with no cash reserves, we are very dependent on government financial support. We need federal funds, such as cash from vendors who supported us earlier during the pandemic, to pay for increased labor costs and cover our costs. lost income,” Flantz said during a briefing with AHA reporters on Tuesday.

The AHA is reaching out to congressional leaders and key committees, said Stacey Hughes, the association’s executive vice president of government relations and public policy.

“There are many members who want to see where the dollars are overall in the CARES effort before allocating new dollars, but I certainly feel that Congress is urgently looking at these issues,” Hughes said during a press conference. .


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