HHS Begins Distributing the American Rescue Plan’s Rural Provider Funds

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), began distributing $7.5 billion in American Rescue Plan (ARP) Rural payments to providers and suppliers who serve rural Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Medicare beneficiaries. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to providing much-needed relief to rural providers who historically operate on thin margins and have had their financial challenges further exacerbated during the pandemic. The average payment being announced today is approximately $170,700, with payments ranging from $500 to approximately $43 million. More than 40,000 providers in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and six territories will receive ARP Rural payments.

Many ARP Rural payment recipients will also be eligible for additional funding through the $17 billion Provider Relief Fund (PRF) Phase 4 opportunity that was also made available during the same time period. Providers could apply for both opportunities through a single application.

To streamline the application and payment process as much as possible, ARP Rural payments are based on Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP claims for services to rural beneficiaries from January 1, 2019 through September 30, 2020. This period was chosen as it represents the most recent comprehensive data available to HHS and takes into account both pre-pandemic and pandemic operations. Rural providers serve a disproportionate number of Medicaid and CHIP patients who often have more complex medical needs. To provide equitable relief to these providers, ARP Rural payment calculations were generally based on Medicare reimbursement rates, regardless of whether the service was provided to a Medicare, Medicaid, or CHIP patient. Every eligible provider that serves at least one rural Medicare, Medicaid, or CHIP beneficiary will receive funding.

Providers can use these funds for salaries, recruitment, or retention; supplies such as N95 or surgical masks; equipment like ventilators or improved filtration systems; capital investments; information technology; and other expenses related to prevent, prepare for, or respond to COVID-19.

Visit this website from the HRSA for more information on the Provider Relief Fund. Have questions about how you can use your funds, compliance, reporting, or any other matter related to the American Rescue Plan and your organization’s payments? Give us a call today!