The AAMC joined other hospital and health system groups in a May 10 letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra, JD urging him to extend the deadline for use of Provider Relief Fund (PRF) resources from June 30, 2021 to the end of the Public Health Emergency (PHE).
The letter also urged the Secretary to distribute the remaining resources in the fund as expeditiously as possible. Other signers included the American Hospital Association, the Federation of American Hospitals, and America’s Essential Hospitals.
The letter emphasized that, “not all of the funds have been distributed, and those that have may not yet have been fully utilized by the recipients” and urged Becerra to “intercede on behalf of our hospitals and health systems and provide critical assistance by expending the remaining PRF resources and tying the utilization date to the PHE.”
Congress provided $178 billion throughout the pandemic in direct payments to providers through the PRF, as well as an additional $8.5 billion for rural hospitals in the American Rescue Plan (P.L. 117-2) [refer to Washington Highlights, March 12]. Though the resources from the fund must be utilized by June 30, 2021, a significant portion of the funds allocated by Congress have not yet been distributed.
“The work of addressing the COVID-19 pandemic continues, despite the relief that is currently being provided by an increase in vaccination levels. Our facilities continue to treat tens of thousands of patients and intensive care unit capacity is still high in some parts of the country. We anticipate financial challenges will persist for America’s hospitals and health systems, with more financial impact expected due to the pandemic,” the letter stated.