$225 Million Grant Program Approved for Rural Health Clinics
Update: The Paycheck Protection and Healthcare Enhancement Act also known as the “Phase 3.5” legislation was signed into law today by President Trump.
Due to NARHC advocacy, this legislation includes a $225 million grant program specifically for rural health clinics. The details of this grant program are still to be worked out but the law does mention “That such funds shall be distributed using the procedures developed for the Provider Relief Fund authorized under the third paragraph under this heading in division B of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.”
It is conceivable that HHS will administer this money with no application from the RHC and/or create an online portal for RHCs to submit the necessary financial information in a similar manner to the way they are allocating the $100 billion provider relief fund approved by the CARES Act.
This $225 million is not to be confused with several other “tranches” ~ the buzzword of the moment ~ of money that have been doled out over the last few weeks and will be released in the near future.
Congress set to Approve $225 Million for Rural Health Clinics in Phase 3.5 Legislation
We are pleased to report that the Congress is set to approve a new $225 MILLION grant program exclusively for federally certified Rural Health Clinics for testing and related expenses associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The legislation authorizing these new grants was approved unanimously late yesterday by the United States Senate and we anticipate that the legislation will be approved with strong bi-partisan support in the House in the next 36 hours. We are confident it will be signed into law by the President soon after approval by the House. Here is the language creating the new grant program.
Provided further, That of the amount appropriated under this paragraph in this Act, $225,000,000 shall be used to provide additional funding for COVID– 19 testing and related expenses, through grants or other mechanisms, to rural health clinics as defined in section 1861(aa)(2) of the Social Security Act, with such funds also available to such entities for building or construction of temporary structures, leasing of properties, and retro-fitting facilities as necessary to support COVID–19 testing
This is an initiative NARHC has been promoting to our allies in Congress and HHS since shortly after the passage of the CARES Act on March 27th. Over last few weeks, we have had numerous conversations about the feasibility of this initiative, how and where the money could be spent, who would be responsible for distributing the money and other questions relevant to this initiative. The more people we talked with, the better we felt about support for the concept but there were other requests from other providers and we did not know until mid-day on Tuesday, April 21st that the RHC grant program had actually made it through to the final bill.
We are pleased that Congress and the Trump Administration recognize the important role RHCs are playing at making healthcare available in your communities.
Details on how this money will be distributed still need to be worked out but it is our expectation that EVERY federally certified Rural Health Clinic will receive money from this fund.
We will share details on how and when this money will be distributed as they become available.