On May 11th, Congresswomen Cindy Axne and Mariannette Miller-Meeks led a bipartisan group of 77 members in a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) calling for greater flexibility and additional time for health care providers to use financial assistance they have received from the Provider Relief Fund (PRF). In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress has authorized a total of $178 billion for the PRF to help health care providers cover expenses and lost revenue due to the pandemic. However, providers face a deadline of June 30, 2021 to spend unused funds and have limited options for how funds may be used, which threatens to hamper recipients’ abilities to fully use their awards from the PRF.
UnityPoint Health collaborated with the Iowa Hospital Association to demonstrate support for this flexibility. David Stark, President and CEO of UnityPoint Health – Des Moines, expressed his appreciation for the extension proposal and stated “I can tell you firsthand those dollars have meant the world to us and have allowed us to keep up with PPE supplies, testing and monitoring of our facilities and patients. . . . [T]he need for those dollars to help us provide the excellent care that Iowans deserve is still mission critical.”
HHS has not yet responded to this letter, and UnityPoint Health continues to advocate for this needed flexibility.