The federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) includes $8.5 billion in funding for rural providers that need additional funding for COVID-19 related expenses or lost revenues. To be considered for this funding, applicants will need to demonstrate their need for funds through an application process. This is different than under the CARES Provider Relief Fund, where the funds were provided automatically to all eligible providers based on specific formulas. The application process and funds will likely be administered through the Treasury Department rather than through the Department of Health and Human Services.
WSHA is monitoring the situation and will provide additional information on the application process as it becomes available. Since under ARPA, the $8.5 billion in funds will be available only “until expended”, we will be encouraging interested members to apply promptly once the portal and process is available. In the meantime, we recommend interested rural hospitals and providers review the following ARPA language to be ready to apply when the process becomes available:
Based on the bill language, the application will include:
- A statement justifying the need of the provider for the payment, including documentation of the health care related expenses attributable and lost revenues attributable to COVID–19.
- A provider’s tax identification number.
- Assurances from the provider for maintaining and making available documentation and reports (at such time, in such form, and containing such information as the Secretary shall prescribe) the Secretary determines necessary to ensure compliance with any conditions imposed by the Secretary under this section.
- Any other information determined appropriate by the Secretary.
Under the ARPA bill language, covered expenses and lost revenues for this funding appear to be consistent with the CARES Provider Relief Fund Terms and Conditions and FAQs.
- The term “health care related expenses attributable to COVID–19” means health care related expenses to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID–19, including the building or construction of a temporary structure, the leasing of a property, the purchase of medical supplies and equipment, including personal protective equipment and testing supplies, providing for increased workforce and training (including maintaining staff, obtaining additional staff, or both), the operation of an emergency operation center, retrofitting a facility, providing for surge capacity, and other expenses determined appropriate by the Secretary.
- The term “lost revenue attributable to COVID–19” has the meaning given that term in the Frequently Asked Questions guidance released by the Department of Health and Human Services in June 2020, including the difference between such provider’s budgeted and actual revenue if such budget had been established and approved prior to March 27, 2020.
WSHA will provide additional information on the application process as it becomes available. (Andrew Busz, AndrewB@wsha.org)