Payments to health care providers under the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) have ended, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced.
After President Biden signed into law the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 (FRA), the agency issued a PRF program update stating “no further payments will be made to providers under the Provider Relief Fund or the American Rescue Plan Rural Distribution.” Notably, the HRSA statement specified there will be no reconsideration payments.
Besides suspending the federal debt limit until January 1, 2025, the FRA rescinded various unobligated funds that Congress authorized during the COVID-19 public health emergency. That funding included the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund, which financed the PRF program.
The PRF Phase 4 General Distribution was a $17 billion portion of the $178 billion program. According to HRSA, $15.45 billion has been distributed, meaning more than $1.5 billion is no longer available for entities seeking additional payments via the HRSA-established reconsideration request process. The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Rural Distribution was a separate $8.5 billion program. HRSA calculated that $8.33 billion had been distributed.
Before the rescission, HRSA was reviewing Phase 4 and ARP Rural reconsideration requests, with some providers anticipating millions of dollars in additional payments resulting from inaccurate HRSA calculations and reviews of original Phase 4 and ARP Rural payment applications.
After the determination that the FRA applies to and rescinds remaining PRF and ARP Rural dollars, it appears that HRSA will no longer process or complete reconsideration requests or make any additional payments.
Meanwhile, reporting and auditing requirements continue for previously distributed PRF and ARP Rural payments.