First Set of Phase 4 Relief Payments to be Released This Week

Industry, Legislative,

This information is provided by national senior living association partner, Argentum.

HHS and HRSA announced today that later this week they will begin distributing the Provider Relief Fund Phase 4 payments to eligible health care providers. This first set of funds represents approximately $9 billion of the $17 billion allocated to Phase 4 relief, and the remainder of the Phase 4 payments are expected to be released through January. Argentum greatly appreciates the disbursement of these critically needed funds, after months of advocacy that included successfully saving the PRF from a near-certain elimination and then to release the funds to providers. 

HHS and HRSA have indicated that the average payment for small providers is $58,000, for medium providers is $289,000, and for large providers is $1.7 million. The payments are made in accordance with the methodology released in September, which earmarked 25% of the Phase 4 relief as “bonus” payments based on the amount and type of services provided to Medicare, Medicaid, or CHIP patients. Argentum had specifically advocated that assisted living providers be eligible for these bonus payments based on the number of Medicare beneficiaries served in our facilities.

We are still reviewing the exact methodology that the administration will be using for these payments and will share additional information as it becomes available. In the interim, HHS released a state-by-state breakdown of the Phase 4 payments, available here.

For nearly two months, Argentum has been leading efforts to encourage the Biden Administration to prioritize relief to assisted living providers. This was done through a coordinated campaign, “Don’t Leave Assisted Living Behind, Again” (see press release). The campaign underscores the continued disparities in relief and support that has been made available to senior living, and the need to rectify it moving forward, including with the Phase 4 PRF payments. It began with a letter to President Biden, and subsequent letters have been sent to President Biden on November 3, and on November 22, we sent a letter to President Biden, HHS Secretary Becerra, and HRSA Acting Administrator Espinosa.

Beyond the letters, the campaign includes billboards in key states, banners and yard signs displayed at communities throughout the country, geotargeted ads directed at policymakers in the White House, HHS, and Congress, grassroots and grasstops outreach, and media placements to get the attention of key lawmakers. We relaunched the website and provided new pre-written letters to be sent from advocates directly to the White House and Congress. And we also circulated a grassroots petition for advocates to add their name to our cause.

As relief begins to be rolled out, Argentum is also continuing to work with several lawmakers on legislation to release remaining funds and to target funds for senior living providers. Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) is leading H.R. 5963, the Provider Relief Fund Improvement Act to require the release of remaining funds by March 31. This bill has already garnered the support of more than a dozen bipartisan cosponsors. We are also continuing to refine the SENIOR Act, with introduction expected in the coming weeks, that will specifically target $30 billion to offset COVID-19 expenses and losses for assisted living providers. And we are in final discussion talks with a key senator on similar legislation to target relief specifically to assisted living providers.

Argentum will continue to keep you updated on our efforts and details on Phase 4 relief payments. Thank you all again for your support and engagement that has made today’s announcement possible.