The Provider Relief Bureau (PRB) ensures resiliency of the nation’s health care systems and infrastructure by supporting health care entities in the United States to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. PRB reimburses health care providers for health care-related expenses or lost revenues attributable to coronavirus and provides claims reimbursement for health care entities for COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccine administration for uninsured and underinsured individuals.
The PRB administers four programs.
Provider Relief Fund (PRF)
Provider Relief Fund (PRF) payments were made to eligible providers who diagnose, test, or care for individuals with possible or actual cases of COVID-19 and have health care related expenses and lost revenues attributable to COVID-19. Providers received automatic payments and/or applied for payments.
These funds provide financial support to providers who experienced lost revenues and increased expenses during the pandemic in order to maintain national health system capacity.
PRF General and Targeted Payments
Eligible providers for General Distribution payments have included Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Program participants, as well as some health care providers who are private pay or accept commercial insurance (e.g., assisted living facilities, behavioral health providers, and dentists). Funds have also been allocated to specific provider groups via Targeted Distribution payments, including:
- Hospitals in COVID-19 high impact areas
- Indian Health Service (IHS) and Tribal providers
- Rural providers
- Safety net hospitals
- Children’s hospitals
- Skilled nursing facilities
- Nursing home infection control
American Rescue Plan Rural Distribution
The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Rural distribution was intended to address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on rural communities and rural health care providers. HRSA made payments to providers based on the amount and type of services they provide to Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) patients who live in rural areas, as defined by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy.
COVID-19 Claims Reimbursement to Health Care Providers and Facilities for Testing, Treatment, and Vaccine Administration for the Uninsured Program
The Uninsured Program (UIP) provided claims reimbursement to health care providers generally at Medicare rates for providing COVID-19 testing, treatment, or vaccine administration to uninsured individuals.
UIP stopped accepting claims due to a lack of sufficient funds in April of 2022.
COVID-19 Coverage Assistance Fund (CAF)
The COVID-19 Coverage Assistance Fund (CAF) provided claims reimbursement to health care providers at the national Medicare rate for administering COVID-19 vaccines to patients whose health insurance didn’t cover vaccine administration fees, or did so with patient cost-sharing.
CAF stopped accepting claims due to a lack of sufficient funds in April of 2022.