Physician groups throughout the country found themselves facing new obstacles during the COVID-19 pandemic. Private practices implemented new technology for virtual appointments, increased the personal protective equipment (PPE) needs and saw an increase in patients that were disproportionately impacted by the virus.
In an effort alleviate that burden, the Biden-Harris Administration recently announced that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will make over $25 billion in additional funding available for healthcare providers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
What is this program?
This round of funding is available through two programs: Phase 4 of the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) and the American Rescue Plan (ARP).
The Biden-Harris Administration states that although essentially all physicians impacted by the pandemic may qualify, the program gives priority to those who serve the most vulnerable communities. The program sets out to achieve this goal with the following measures:
- Providers who serve Medicaid, CHIP, and/or Medicare patients get bonus payments.
- The program will reimburse smaller providers at a higher rate compared to larger providers.
- Providers who care for patients in rural areas will receive payments at the rural rate based on Medicare reimbursement rates.
The Administration set out these measures to help better ensure physician groups disproportionately impacted by the pandemic are more likely to receive a larger portion of the funding.
Qualifying applicants will also need to show revenue loss and expenses that were associated with the pandemic from July 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021.
How does my group apply for funding?
Although the funding is part of two programs, the government only requires one application. This will help ease administrative burden and hopefully increase the efficiency of the program. The government will make the application available online on September 29, 2021.