Hospitals ask Congress to add $25B to relief fund

The American Hospital Association is urging Congress to include several priorities in legislation to fund the government beyond Feb. 18, including adding billions of dollars to the Provider Relief Fund. 

The AHA, which represents nearly 5,000 member hospitals, is urging Congress to add $25 billion in additional relief fund dollars to help providers address the financial strain caused by the delta and omicron surges.

The AHA said the relief fund has been a "lifeline" for hospitals, but no distributions have been made or announced for expenses related to the delta and omicron surges. 

"The lack of PRF dollars to address issues wrought by the delta and omicron surges has left many hospitals facing overwhelming financial and operational challenges," the AHA said. 

Additionally, the AHA urged Congress to immediately distribute any remaining money from the provider relief fund and extend the deadline for spending the funds. 

Other key priorities the AHA wants Congress to address in the funding legislation include extending Medicare sequester relief, giving hospitals more time to repay advance Medicare payments and ensuring 340B hospitals can remain eligible for the program. 

"Unfortunately, the relentless and crushing workload on our stressed, tired and burned-out caregivers persists, and in many places, is increasing," the AHA said. "As part of negotiations surrounding an omnibus budget agreement, we are now in need of additional immediate support from Congress and the Administration in order to continue standing strong and to be able to provide timely access to life-saving health care to your constituents."

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