With the opening of the application portal for the last $ 25.5 billion available in relief funds for phase 4 providers, advocates for the elderly are advising operators to apply as soon as possible and highlight in their applications the critical need for those dollars.
Argentum highlighted key provisions of the application process on Wednesday during a call for membership. A positive point for assisted living providers is that they are clearly named as eligible providers in an update to the Frequently Asked Questions section of the Health Resources and Services Administration website.
The US Department of Health and Human Services has also announced that there will be a Phase 4 review process for providers who believe there has been an error in reviewing their claims. This announcement follows a previously announced review process for relief fund distributions to Phase 3 providers.
Maggie Elehwany, senior vice president of public policy at Argentum, said HRSA has put money aside in the Provider Relief Fund for such reviews, but the amount reserved is unknown.
Earlier this month, the HHS announced that it was making $ 25.5 billion in new funding available to healthcare providers through a Phase 4 general distribution. The deadline to apply for funds from the phase 4 is October 26.
The funding includes $ 17 billion for a wide range of vendors who can document lost revenue and expenses associated with the coronavirus pandemic. Another $ 8.5 billion US bailout funding will go to providers who serve Medicaid, the children’s health insurance program, or Medicare beneficiaries in rural areas.
Lots of competition
During Argentum’s call, Thomas Barker, partner at law firm Foley Hoag, said that although $ 25.5 billion is a large sum of money, assisted living operators are going to be in competition. with multiple health care providers for the $ 17 billion pool.
“Ultimately, these funds will not be quite enough to support the providers of assisted living services,” said Barker. “Assisted living providers were on the front lines, but there is still a long way to go. “
Some of the unknowns associated with Phase 4 include distribution amounts, a distribution schedule, and criteria for determining the size of the supplier. Elehwany said she believed distributions would take place between mid-November and mid-December, but added that HRSA has indicated it will wait to receive all requests before distributing the remaining funds.
“It is imperative that we distinguish ourselves,” Elehwany said of assisted living service providers. “We are one of the few non-Medicare / Medicaid providers on this list of eligible entities. It is important to remind them of what you did, how you suffered these losses.
Argentum encouraged vendors to register for one of the four Phase 4 HRSA Distributions webinar sessions, which will provide guidance on how to navigate the Application Portal.
Alexander Somodevilla, an associate at Foley Hoag, provided information on the Phase 3 review process, which also opened on Wednesday. Reconsideration request forms must be completed by November 12.
Somodevilla pointed out that while HRSA will reconsider the Phase 3 distributions, it will not reconsider the payment methodology, adding that the updated FAQs specify the types of providers unlikely to receive revised payments, namely operators who are qualify for payments using an alternative methodology.
The HHS also previously announced a 60-day final grace period to help providers comply with the Provider Relief Fund reporting requirements for the first reporting period. Somodevilla reminded providers that the grace period runs until November 30, and HRSA has clarified that it will not extend the deadline for spending the first period funds.
The association also reminded providers that today, September 30, is the deadline for providers to submit their first Relief Fund report to providers for funding received between April 10 and June 30.