According to a California Medical Association report, the Biden Administration is releasing the remaining $25 billion of the $185 billion that was deposited into the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Provider Relief Fund to assist physician practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the $25 billion in remaining funds, $17 billion will go to all healthcare providers, with an additional $8.5 billion targeted specifically for rural healthcare providers.

The applications for both Provider Relief Fund (PRF) Phase 4 and American Rescue Plan (ARP) Rural payments are now open. Applications must undergo a number of validation checks before financial information is submitted, so healthcare providers are encouraged to begin their application as soon as possible to ensure they are able to meet the Tuesday, October 26, 2021, 11:59 PM ET, deadline. The list of eligible healthcare provider types and application instructions are available for review on the Human Resources & Service Administration (HRSA) website.

Interested applicants can apply via the Provider Relief Fund Application and Attestation Portal. To streamline the application process and minimize administrative burdens, healthcare providers apply for both programs in a single application. The HRSA will use existing Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Medicare claims data when calculating portions of these payments.

Eligible physicians will be reimbursed for their revenue losses and increased COVID-19-related expenses from July 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021. As with the prior Phase 3 distribution, losses and expenses will be compared against revenues in 2019.

There will also be bonus payments for physicians treating Medicaid/CHIP patients. Small practices will receive a higher percentage of their lost revenues and increased expenses, with healthcare providers practicing in rural, underserved areas receiving additional funding. Bonus payments will automatically be applied by HHS. Final funding distribution will be based on the total requests received by HHS.