Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Announcements

Date: September 10, 2021

HHS Announces the Availability of $25.5 Billion in COVID-19 Provider Funding

Applications open on September 29

The Health Resources and Services Administration at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) is making $25.5 billion in new funding available for health care providers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding includes:

  • $8.5 billion from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) for providers who serve rural Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or Medicare patients. ARP rural payments to providers will be based on the amount of Medicaid/CHIP and Medicare services provided to patients living in rural areas as defined by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy; and
  • $17 billion for Provider Relief Fund (PRF) Phase 4 payments for a broad range of providers who can document revenue loss and expenses associated with the pandemic. For these Phase 4 payments, smaller providers—who tend to operate on thin margins and often serve vulnerable or isolated communities—will receive reimbursements for lost revenues and COVID-19 expenses at a higher rate compared to larger providers. Phase 4 will also include bonus payments based on the amount of services providers furnish to Medicaid/CHIP and Medicare patients, who tend to be lower income and have greater and more complex medical needs.

Providers will apply for both programs with a single application, and the application portal will open on September 29, 2021.

For more information about eligibility requirements, the documents and information providers will need to complete their application, and the application process for Phase 4 and ARP Rural payments, visit: https://www.hrsa.gov/provider-relief/future-payments.

The announcement also includes an important update about PRF reporting for payments received in the first half of 2020. Given challenges from recent natural disasters and the Delta variant, HHS announced a 60-day grace period to help providers complete their PRF Reporting requirements if they fail to meet the September 30, 2021 deadline for reporting payments received from April 10, 2020 to June 30, 2020. While the deadlines to use funds and the Reporting Time Period will not change, HHS will not initiate collection activities or similar enforcement actions for noncompliant providers during the grace period. 

See the HHS press release for more information.