HHS Provider Relief Fund Phase 3 payments underway

Washington — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Dec. 16 that the next round of Provider Relief Fund distributions is now underway.

The Provider Relief Fund was established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act — known as the CARES Act — to help dentists and other health care providers recover lost revenue and net changes in expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the Phase 3 round of funding, the program is expected to distribute more than $24 billion to more than 70,000 providers, according to an HHS news release. That number was about $4 billion higher than originally expected.

“HHS recognizes this pandemic has upended the health care system and caused significant financial hardships,” the department said. “These resources, along with previous distributions, have provided much needed relief. Payment distribution started today and will continue through January 2021.”

HHS has said the Provider Relief Fund program was designed “to be agile and responsive” to the shifting dynamics of this pandemic.

“As with other General Distribution [payments], applicants that have not already received a baseline payment of 2% of annual revenue from patient care were eligible to do so,” the department said. “Recognizing the ongoing challenges for providers, HHS enhanced the Phase 3 distribution to consider the actual revenue losses and expenses experienced by providers that were attributable to COVID-19. With this opportunity, previously eligible PRF applicants were invited to apply for additional funding, along with first time applicants.”

HHS added that “this funding will distribute to providers up to 88% of their reported losses” but noted that more than 35,000 applicants won’t get additional payments because “they experienced no change in revenues or net expenses attributable to COVID-19, or because they have already received funds that equal or exceed reimbursement of 88% of reported losses.”

For a state-by-state breakdown on the first batch of Phase 3 payments, HHS has created a PDF and said the data will be updated through January 2021.

“It is important to note this state-by-state data is tied to the state in which a recipient’s IRS Tax Identification Number is registered,” the release concluded.

The ADA worked closely with HHS and the Health Resources and Services Administration, which administers the fund, to ensure dentists were included in the Provider Relief Fund.

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