The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced a new opportunity for providers to seek funding through the COVID-19 HHS Provider Relief Fund and will be accepting applications from Oct. 5 through Nov. 6.

In separate news, the White House said President Trump will be conducting a call with long term care providers today.

First, on the HHS development, in a primer on the issue, the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) said Congress allocated $175 billion to HHS for the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund. As of Sept. 24, HHS had allocated $122.9 billion of those funds, the association said.

That funding has been divided between:

--General distributions: two General Distributions—Phase 1 ($50 billion) and Phase 2 ($18 billion)—distributed through a combination of proactive distributions and application-based awards, and
--Targeted Distributions: proactive distributions to specific provider types—primarily hospitals and nursing homes.
On Thursday, HHS allocated an additional $20 billion for another General Distribution, which the agency deemed “Phase 3 General Distribution," AHCA/NCAL said.
 
The new distribution methodology will take into account other applicants, so HHS will not be able to calculate full awards until it has received and reviewed all applications. Virtually all health care providers should be eligible to apply for funding in this distribution. Even those providers that received funding previously may be newly eligible for consideration, the association said.  

As for the key parameters of this new opportunity, HHS said the fresh distribution is application-based. Interested providers will be required to apply, as opposed to receiving a proactive distribution from HHS.

The application will be open to: 

--Providers that have previously received, accepted, or rejected funding through the Provider Relief Fund;
--Behavioral health providers (some had previously been excluded for methodological reasons); and
--Providers newly practicing in 2020 (previously excluded for methodological reasons).
AHCA/NCAL said the distribution will be 2 percent of Patient Care Revenue. HHS will review each application to ensure providers have received 2 percent of their annual patient care revenue, taking into account previous distributions from the Provider Relief Fund. This methodology is consistent with the most recent General Distribution Phase 2, for which applications closed on Sept. 13. 

Further, AHCA/NCAL said HHS indicated it would use the remainder of the $20 billion (after ensuring all applicants have 2 percent of annual patient care revenue) to calculate an “equitable add-on payment" for all applicants, reflecting:

--A provider's change in operating revenue from patient care;
--A provider's change in operating expenses from patient care, including expenses incurred related to coronavirus; and
--Payments already received through prior Provider Relief Fund distributions.
For updates and to learn more about the Provider Relief Program, visit: hhs.gov/providerrelief.

In a separate development, the White House said long term and post-acute care and assisted living providers are invited to join a conference call with President Trump and administration officials today at 12:15 p.m. (ET).  

Interested parties can register for the call using the link below. Upon registration, providers will receive a unique dial-in number, AHCA/NCAL said.

Call-In Registration: CLICK HERE.