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HRSA updates Provider Relief Fund Phase 4 information

Eligible dentists encouraged to apply, webinars set for Sept. 30, Oct. 5

September 24, 2021

By Jennifer Garvin

The deadline to apply for the fourth phase of the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund is Oct. 26.

The application process opens Sept. 29 and all applications must be submitted online in the Provider Relief Fund Application and Attestation Portal.

The Provider Relief Fund was established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act and allows eligible dental service providers to apply for payments, not loans, made for health care-related expenses or lost revenue attributable to COVID-19.

According to HRSA, Provider Relief Fund Phase 4 payments will be based on providers’ changes in operating revenues and expenses from July 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021. The fourth phase also includes new elements “specifically focused on equity, including reimbursing smaller providers for their changes in operating revenues and expenses at a higher rate compared to larger providers, and bonus payments based on the amount of services providers furnish to Medicaid/Children's Health Insurance Program and Medicare patients,” the agency said.

Payments can be used for lost revenues or eligible expenses incurred from Jan. 1, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2022.

HRSA also noted:

• Seventy-five percent of the Phase 4 allocation will be calculated based on changes in operating revenues and expenses.
• Large providers will receive a minimum payment amount that is based on a percentage of their changes in operating revenues and expenses.
• Medium and small providers will receive a base payment plus a supplement, with small providers receiving the highest supplement, as smaller providers tend to operate on thin margins and often serve vulnerable or isolated communities.
• Health and Human Services will determine the exact amount of the base payments and supplements after analyzing data from all the applications received to ensure the agency stays within budget and funds are distributed equitably.
• No provider will receive a Phase 4 payment that exceeds 100% of their losses and expenses. HHS will continue to use risk mitigation and cost containment measures in Phase 4 to protect program integrity and preserve taxpayer dollars.
• Twenty-five percent of the Phase 4 allocation will be put towards bonus payments that are based on the amount and type of services provided to Medicaid, CHIP and Medicare patients.
• HHS will price Medicaid and CHIP claims data at Medicare rates, with some limited exceptions for some services provided predominantly in Medicaid and CHIP.

Providers who have previously created an account in the Provider Relief Fund portal but have not logged in for more than 90 days will need to first reset their password before starting a new application.

HRSA will be holding webinars to assist providers on navigating the portal. The first webinar will be Sept. 30 from 3-4 p.m. ET, and there is a second webinar scheduled Oct. 5 from 3-4 p.m. ET.

For more information about eligibility requirements, documents and information needed, and application process, visit the HRSA website.

The ADA has an updated FAQ to help dentists who may have questions about the Provider Relief Fund.

HRSA also is assisting providers with a Provider Support Line at 1-866-569-3522 from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.

To promote transparency in the Provider Relief Fund program, HHS has released detailed information about the methods it used to calculate Phase 3 payments, and providers who believe their Phase 3 payment was not calculated correctly will have the opportunity to request a reconsideration. The agency will be releasing more information on the reconsideration process soon.

For more information about the ADA's advocacy efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit ADA.org/COVID19Advocacy.