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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that $25.5 billion soon will be available to help EMS providers with the costs of providing COVID-19 response. This funding includes $8.5 billion in American Rescue Plan (ARP) resources for providers who serve rural Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or Medicare patients. An additional $17 billion is for Provider Relief Fund (PRF) Phase 4 for a broad range of providers who can document revenue loss and expenses associated with the pandemic. 

PRF Phase 4 payments will be based on providers’ lost revenues and expenditures between July 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021. PRF Phase 4 will reimburse smaller providers for their lost revenues and COVID-19 expenses at a higher rate compared to larger providers. PRF Phase 4 also will include bonus payments for providers who serve Medicaid, CHIP, and/or Medicare patients, who tend to be lower income and have greater and more complex medical needs. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will price these bonus payments at the generally higher Medicare rates to ensure equity for those serving low-income children, pregnant women, people with disabilities, and seniors. Similarly, HRSA will make ARP rural payments to providers based on the amount of Medicaid, CHIP and/or Medicare services they provide to patients who live in rural areas as defined by the HHS Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. ARP rural payments also will generally be based on Medicare reimbursement rates. 

To expedite and streamline the application process and minimize administrative burdens, providers will apply for both programs in a single application. HRSA will use existing Medicaid, CHIP and Medicare claims data in calculating payments. The application portal will open on September 29, 2021.   

For more information, please go to the HRSA website.

 

Ken LaSala is the director of  the IAFC's Government Relations and Policy department.

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