The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced an additional $413 million in Phase 4 Provider Relief Fund (PRF) payments to be distributed to more than 3,600 healthcare providers. The timing of the distribution was not announced, but HHS said that the new release means that approximately 89 percent of Phase 4 applications have been processed.
The announcement follows nearly $9 billion released by HHS in December 2021 and another $560 million to COVID-impacted providers in February 2022. Overall, the Department said, it has distributed nearly $12 billion in Phase 4 payments to more than 82,000 healthcare providers since November 2021.
Provider Relief Fund payments are designed to help healthcare providers whose operations have been negatively impacted by the variants of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the agency, the funds are intended to help providers “to remain in operation and to continue supporting patient care by covering a variety of costs including personnel, recruitment and retention initiatives, medical supplies, information technology, and many other functions.” The agency also noted that Phase 4 payments are intended to reimburse Medicare and Medicaid providers for lost revenues and increased expenses at a higher rate compared to larger providers.