HRSA Ends COVID-19 Relief Payments and Processing - McDermott Will & Emery

HRSA Ends COVID-19 Relief Payments and Processing

Overview


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).

In Depth


HRSA made the announcement in a program update on its provider relief webpage, stating:

“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The Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 (FRA) rescinded billions in unobligated COVID-19 relief funds.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 The table below shows the amounts of appropriated and unobligated funds that were either rescinded or reserved by the FRA.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

Appropriating Legislation Unexpired Appropriations Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA, PL 116-127)
 
$1 billion to PHSSEF (UIP) Rescinds all remaining unobligated funds
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act, PL 116-136)
 
$27 billion to PHSSEF
$100 billion to PHSSEF (PRF)
Reserves $2.127 billion + certain transfers
Rescinds remaining unobligated funds
Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (PPPHCEA, PL 116-139)
 
$75 billion to PHSSEF (PRF)
$25 billion to PHSSEF (including $1 billion to UIP testing)
Reserves $300 million of PRF for administration/oversight and $243 million + certain transfers to OIG
Rescinds remaining unobligated funds
Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (PL 116-260, Div. M)
 
$3 billion to PHSSEF (PRF)
$22.9 billion to PHSSEF
Reserves $205 million
Rescinds remaining unobligated funds
American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA; P.L. 117-2)
 
$47.8 billion to HHS secretary (testing, tracing, mitigation) Reserves $7.3 billion
Rescinds remaining unobligated funds

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.