Pediatric RHCs Excluded from Provider Relief Fund?
The National Association of Rural Health Clinics has been working with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to address the exclusion of Pediatric RHCs from the General Distribution of money from the Provider Relief Fund. We believe that HHS understands this problem and will not repeat this oversight in the next release of funds.
Yesterday I had a lengthy one-on-one conversation with the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and one of the issues we specifically discussed was the exclusion of Pediatric RHCs from the original distribution of Provider Relief Funds and the need for HHS to prevent this from happening with future PRF distributions - specifically, the anticipated release of PRF money specifically for RHCs and rural hospitals.
As you know, last week HHS Secretary Alex Azar announced that the Trump Administration was reserving $10 Billion in Provider Relief Funds for RHCs and rural hospitals. He said that this release would be based on "net expenses" of the clinic or hospital. NARHC immediately reached out to the Secretary's office to express concern that using "net expenses" particularly if this meant relying upon the RHC cost report to identify expenses would continue to discriminate against Pediatric RHCs and other Rural Health Clinics that had little or no Medicare volume. We pointed out that these Medicare low-volume RHCs typically submit a "no cost" cost report and therefore have nothing upon which to base Provider Relief Payments.
Although we do not know the formula that HHS will use, we have been assured that the methodology they have selected has taken into account the Medicare "low-volume" problem so that Pediatric RHCs will receive a proportional distribution of funds from the money reserved for 'Rural Health'. We've been told those monies will be released "soon".
NARHC will continue to advocate for ALL rural health clinics to ensure that money made available to replace lost revenue makes it way to every federally certified RHC regardless of specialty, tax status or organizational structure.
Thank you for all you are doing to keep your doors open so you can continue to provide quality, affordable, accessible healthcare in your communities. NARHC will continue to carry your message to policy makes in support of the work you are doing.
NARHC Executive Director