The US Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced on Monday, June 5, 2023, that it has stopped payments to healthcare providers under the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) and COVID-19 Uninsured Program (UIP).
“With the passage of the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 and related rescission of program funds, no further payments will be made to providers under the Provider Relief Fund or the American Rescue Plan Rural Distribution, including no reconsideration payments. Likewise, no additional claims payments will be made under the Uninsured Program or Coverage Assistance Fund. Per the Terms and Conditions of each Program, all reporting and auditing requirements will continue without disruption.”
The Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 (FRA) rescinded billions in unobligated COVID-19 relief funds. But it also reserved billions in unobligated COVID-19 relief funds appropriated to the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (PHSSEF), which the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has largely used to fund the PRF and UIP. The FRA reserved these funds for future uses, without specifying any parameters on use beyond those found in the original appropriations. The table below shows the amounts of appropriated and unobligated funds that were either rescinded or reserved by the FRA.
COVID-19 Relief Appropriating Legislation, Amounts of Appropriations, and Impact of the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 on specific funding pools
Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA, PL 116-127)
HRSA’s announcement abruptly terminated the pending PRF applications and reconsideration requests filed by thousands of healthcare providers. HRSA did not explain the reasons for its policy decision, beyond its reference to the FRA. Nor did HRSA announce what it plans to do with the reserved funds.
We recommend that providers with terminated PRF applications or reconsideration requests or unpaid UIP claims contact legal counsel to explore options for relief.