On June 25, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services released more than $50 Million dollars in Relief Fund payments to Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) that were left out of the original May 1 RHC distribution. This money is in addition to the more than $500 Million distributed to all other RHCs in early May.
“We are pleased that our advocacy efforts on behalf of these RHCs has paid off,” said Bill Finerfrock, Executive Director of the National Association of Rural Health Clinics.
On April 22nd, the Secretary Alex Azar announced that the Department of Health and Human Services was reserving $10 Billion of the $100 Billion authorized by Congress for Provider Relief Payments, for Rural Health Clinics and Rural Hospitals. True to their word, a few weeks later, thousands of RHCs received money from the COVID-19 Provider Relief Fund.
It quickly became apparent that due to unknown problems with the way CMS maintained the official list of RHCs and the formula used by HHS to determine RHC eligibility for payments, many RHCs that should have been eligible did not receive any money from this fund. Immediately upon learning of this oversight, NARHC reached out to HHS Leadership to make them aware of the problem and express our desire that HHS correct this oversight.
For the past 6 weeks, NARHC has been working with HHS leadership and senior staff at the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy to identify the RHCs that were left out of the original distribution and secure the funds necessary to make Provider Relief Payments to these RHCs.
Each RHC in this 500+ group received, on average, slightly more than $103,000. Payments were distributed to RHCs that have an electronic banking relationship with CMS. RHCs that do not have an electronic banking relationship with HHS should be receiving a check in the mail within 7 – 10 days (depending on mail service). RHCs owned by hospitals in “urban” areas should check with their parent hospital entity to verify that this payment was received.
NARHC would like to thank the leadership at HHS and in particular, the staff at the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP), who worked diligently with NARHC to identify those RHCs that were overlooked.