In their initial response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, Congress established the Provider Relief Fund to help healthcare providers weather the pandemic.
As the COVID-19 pandemic persists, research shows billions of dollars from the fund remain unspent while healthcare providers continue to be in need of additional financial assistance.
As of October 2021, an estimated $26.8 billion remained in the Provider Relief Fund.
As of May 2021, $19.7 billion was assigned to a specific distribution category but had yet to be disbursed.
Eligible providers have returned $8 billion of the funds they received because they did not need them.
The fund’s balance will likely continue to increase as several providers will need to return some of the grants because they cannot meet HHS's terms and conditions for the funds.
The need to fund vaccine administration, testing, and treatment remains a reality as the pandemic continues. Unspent funds from the Provider Relief Fund could be allocated to buoy the response of healthcare providers across the country who find themselves on the fronlines of care.
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The nonprofit Urban Institute is dedicated to elevating the debate on social and economic policy. For nearly five decades, Urban scholars have conducted research and offered evidence-based solutions that improve lives and strengthen communities across a rapidly urbanizing world. Their objective research helps expand opportunities for all, reduce hardship among the most vulnerable, and strengthen the effectiveness of the public sector. Visit the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center for more information specific to its staff and its recent research.