Hospitals urge action as billions in provider relief funds remain undistributed

Tens of billions of dollars earmarked by Congress for hospitals and other healthcare providers to offset pandemic-related financial challenges remain undistributed, and hospitals are calling for the funds to be released as they battle the latest COVID-19 surge. 

About $44 billion from the Provider Relief Fund created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act last year remain unused, along with $8.5 billion allocated to rural healthcare providers in March, The Washington Post reported Sept. 1. 

With the delta variant fueling a new COVID-19 surge, hospitals, lobbyists and lawmakers are pushing harder for the Biden administration to determine how the money will be divided and when it will be distributed. 

The American Hospital Association is among the organizations calling for HHS to release the aid. In an Aug. 17 letter, the lobby said hospitals and health systems are finding "their resources — human, infrastructure and financial — are being stretched to the brink."

In a Sept. 2 update, the AHA said it is continuing to push for the aid to be released.

"The AHA continues its multi-pronged effort urging the [HHS] to expeditiously distribute the billions of dollars remaining in the Provider Relief Fund to hospitals and health systems, as well as the American Rescue Plan Act funding to reimburse rural providers for COVID-19-related expenses and lost revenues," the AHA said in the Sept. 2 update. 

In a statement to the Post, HHS said: "We continue to work expeditiously to get these funds out the door and will be announcing another distribution of funds soon. Plans are being finalized."


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