The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Oct. 1 it is allocating $20 billion in new funding for health care providers, including many dentists.
The Provider Relief Fund was established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act — known as the CARES Act — and allows dental providers to apply for payments made for health care-related expenses or lost revenue attributable to the pandemic.
The funds, distributed through the Health Resources and Services Administration, is part of the Phase 3 General Provider Relief Fund. Eligible dentists can begin applying for funds Oct. 5 through Nov. 6.
Under the new Phase 3 general distribution, dental eligibility will be determined by two criteria. Dentists that just began practicing Jan. 1, 2020 through March 31, 2020 are the only newly eligible dentists who will be able to submit applications. Previous eligibility restrictions also apply, such as validating their Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) as step one in the application process.
In addition, all other all dentists who previously applied, accepted or rejected payments from the Provider Relief Fund will now be able to provide additional information to HHS, at which point HHS will review to “confirm they have received a Provider Relief Fund payment equal to approximately 2% of patient care revenue from prior general distributions. Applicants that have not yet received Relief Fund payments of 2 percent of patient revenue will receive a payment that, when combined with prior payments (if any), equals 2% of patient care revenue,” according to a press release from HHS.
If dentists feel they previously received an incorrect payment or made a mistake on their previous application, they should take advantage of this opportunity.
HHS is also allowing the possibility of an “equitable add-on payment” for every previous provider that applied, accepted or rejected payments regardless if they already received the 2% payments. HHS will calculate this additional payment based on:
• A provider’s change in operating revenues from patient care.
• A provider’s change in operating expenses from patient care, including expenses incurred related to coronavirus.
• Payments already received through prior Provider Relief Fund distributions.
It is recommended by HHS that dentists apply sooner rather than later. Dentists with questions should contact the HHS Provider Support Line at 1-866-569-3522 during the hours of operation from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT, Monday-Friday.
For more information about the ADA's advocacy efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit ADA.org/COVID19Advocacy.