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On Friday, September 10, 2021, the Department of Health and Human Services, through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), announced $25.5 billion in new funding for health care providers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding includes $8.5 billion in American Rescue Plan (ARP) resources for providers who serve rural Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or Medicare patients and an additional $17 billion for Provider Relief Fund (PRF) Phase 4 for a broad range of providers who can document revenue loss and expenses associated with the pandemic.


Update from ANCOR:

Get Ready to Apply!

The application will open on September 29, 2021. In order to streamline the application process and minimize administrative burdens, providers will apply for both programs in a single application, and HRSA will use existing Medicaid/CHIP and Medicare claims data in calculating portions of these payments.

  • Phase 4 General Distribution — $17 billion based on providers’ lost revenues and changes in operating expenses from July 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021.
    • To promote equity and to support providers with the most need, HRSA will:
      • Reimburse a higher percentage of lost revenues and expenses for smaller providers as compared to larger providers; and
      • Provide “bonus” payments based on the amount of services they provide to Medicaid, CHIP, and Medicare patients, priced at the generally higher Medicare rates.
    • American Rescue Plan (ARP) Rural  $8.5 billion based on the amount of services providers furnish to Medicaid/CHIP and Medicare beneficiaries living in Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP)-defined rural areas.
      • To promote equity, HRSA will price payments at the generally higher Medicare rates for Medicaid/CHIP patients.

How Can I Prepare?

  • Review eligibility information posted on the PRF Future Payments web page, and additional detail will be added prior to September 29.
  • Search the Rural Health Grants Eligibility Analyzer to see what areas qualify as “rural” for the ARP rural payments.
  • Gather supporting documentation, such as most recent tax documents and financial statements for the second half of calendar year (CY) 2020 and the first quarter of CY 2021.

Phase 3 Reconsiderations!

As we announce the availability of Phase 4 funding, you may also have questions about how HRSA calculated your PRF Phase 3 payment. To promote transparency in the PRF program, HHS today released detailed information about the methodology utilized to calculate Phase 3 payments. Providers who believe their Phase 3 payment was not calculated correctly according to this methodology will now have an opportunity to request a reconsideration. Further details on this Phase 3 reconsideration process are forthcoming.

Grace Period for Reporting Period 1

In light of the challenges providers across the country are facing due to recent natural disasters and the Delta variant, HHS is also announcing today a final 60-day grace period to help providers come into compliance with their PRF Reporting requirements if they fail to meet the deadline on September 30, 2021, for the first PRF Reporting Time Period. While the deadlines to use funds and the Reporting Time Period will not change, HHS will not initiate collection activities or similar enforcement actions for noncompliant providers during this grace period. Several helpful resources can be found at on the PRF Reporting web page.

We know that provider relief funding is critical for health care providers across the country. We are committed to distributing it as equitably and transparently as possible to help providers respond to and ultimately defeat this pandemic.

Thank you for all you are doing during this difficult time.

Additional resources and information can be found on the PRF Reporting web page or by calling the Provider Support Line at (866) 569-3522, for TTY dial 711. Hours of operation are 8:00 am–10:00 pm CT, Monday through Friday.

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Donna Martin
American Network of Community Options and Resources
Alexandria, VA
(401) 965-9411
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ANCOR is asking all members to advocate for funding for HCBS.

The Ask:
Use our action tool to ask your members of Congress to support and fully fund the inclusion of $400 billion for HCBS in the budget reconciliation package.

Why It Matters:
Congress is currently negotiating the Build Back Better Act, the budget resolution legislation that will include an investment of billions of dollars in the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) program. The House version will include just $190 billion for the HCBS program, missing the mark on the President’s promise in his American Jobs Plan to fund the HCBS program at $400 billion and falling far short of what community-based disability service providers need to bounce back from the pandemic and address the ongoing direct support workforce crisis. That makes now the critical time to insist that your members of Congress fully invest in the Medicaid HCBS program. Frankly, if not now, when?

The Details:
The House has drafted its budget reconciliation bill, the Build Back Better Act. The House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is the committee of jurisdiction, will begin marking up the Build Back Better Act on Monday, September 13.

The language in the Energy and Commerce bill includes an investment of $190 billion in the HCBS program. While we celebrate this historic investment in the HCBS program, the level of financing is insufficient to sustain access and stabilize the direct care workforce. A $400 billion investment in dedicated support for HCBS is essential for building a sustainable HCBS infrastructure that can begin addressing the magnitude of unmet need in our communities.

After the committee markup, the bill will be sent to the floor of the House for a full vote in that chamber before moving onto the Senate for final negotiations.

Thank you for taking action now to ask your Representative and Senators to support the full $400 billion in funding for HCBS.

Message from the PA Workforce Coalition:

The Pennsylvania Workforce Coalition is a partnership initiated by PA APSE consisting of State Agencies and statewide membership organizations to increase employment and advancement of people with disabilities. While we work on a larger event for spring 2022, we wanted to start connecting people sooner.

We are asking your help with distributing two surveys. One is targeted to individuals with disabilities who are looking for employment. The second is for businesses who are looking for employees.

Please share these surveys with anyone or business whom you believe would be interested.

Thank you for your assistance.


The first survey is for individuals who are looking for jobs:
PA Workforce Coalition – Talent Survey

We are accepting interest until Friday September 24, so please be sure to submit by this time. Please allow 15 minutes to complete this form. You will need a valid email address. If any part of this form is inaccessible for you, please contact us.

For additional resources, please visit here.

If you know of a business in Pennsylvania who may be interested in being part of this event in October or learn more about the spring event, please have them contact us.


The following survey is for businesses looking for talent acquisition:

PA Workforce Coalition — Talent Acquisition Survey: Understanding Your Workforce Needs to Implement Solutions for Talent Acquisition

We are hosting virtual workshops and opportunities this October to help connect YOU with talent. Please submit your initial responses by September 30 to ensure you are included. Please allow 10 minutes to complete this survey. You will need a valid email address. If any part of this form is inaccessible for you, please contact us.


Collaborative Partners of the PA Workforce Coalition include:
PA APSE (Association of People Supporting EmploymentFirst)
PA Department of Labor & Industry
PA Workforce Development Board
PA Chamber of Business and Industry
PA Chamber for Black-Owned Business
Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL)
Office of Developmental Programs (ODP)
Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS)
Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR)
PA Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN)
PAR (Pennsylvania Advocacy and Resources for Autism and Intellectual Disability)
RCPA (Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association)

The Pennsylvania Rehabilitation Association (PRA) would like to encourage you to recognize an employee, boss, co-worker, organization, employer or individual who you feel is doing an outstanding job in the field of rehabilitation. Please read over the PRA Award categories. We would also like to highlight an additional award that was added a few years ago called the PRA Business Award to recognize employers who have demonstrated achievement in recruiting, hiring, and retaining persons with disabilities.

If you would like to submit a PRA Award nomination, please complete the nomination form and submit by email or mail by November 1 to:

Bonnie Bluett, Co-Chairperson
PRA Awards Committee
49 Park Street
Seven Valleys, PA 17360

If you look over our PRA Awards history on the PRA website, you will be inspired to see the names of so many dedicated rehabilitation professionals, and we would like to encourage you to recognize some additional candidates! If you have any questions, please call Bonnie Bluett at 717-515-4995. Thank you for taking the time to submit a nomination and recognize someone in the field of rehabilitation.

Bonnie Bluett, PRA Awards Co-Chairperson

Message from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS): 

New action will protect patients of the 50,000 providers and over 17 million health care workers in Medicare and Medicaid certified facilities

The Biden-Harris Administration will require COVID-19 vaccination of staff within all Medicare and Medicaid-certified facilities to protect both them and patients from the virus and its more contagious Delta variant. Facilities across the country should make efforts now to get health care staff vaccinated to make sure they are in compliance when the rule takes effect.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), announced that emergency regulations requiring vaccinations for nursing home workers will be expanded to include hospitals, dialysis facilities, ambulatory surgical settings, and home health agencies, among others, as a condition for participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. The decision was based on the continued and growing spread of the virus in health care settings, especially in parts of the U.S. with higher incidence of COVID-19.

“There is no higher priority for us than patient health and safety. As the Delta variant strengthens, the Biden-Harris Administration is committed to doing everything we can to keep patients, and those who care for them, safe,” said U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra. “There is no question that staff, across any health care setting, who remain unvaccinated pose both direct and indirect threats to patient safety and population health. Ensuring safety and access to all patients, regardless of their entry point into the health care system, is essential.”

Nursing homes with an overall staff vaccination rate of 75% or lower experience higher rates of preventable COVID infection. In CMS’s review of available data, the agency is seeing lower staff vaccination rates among hospital and End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) facilities. To combat this issue, CMS is using its authority to establish vaccine requirements for all providers and suppliers that participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Vaccinations have proven to reduce the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 and are effective against the Delta variant.  CMS will continue to work closely with all Medicare and Medicaid certified facilities to ensure these new requirements are met.

“We know that those working in health care want to do what is best for their patients in order to keep them safe,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “As the Delta variant continues to spread, we know the best defense against it lies with the COVID-19 vaccine. Data show that the higher the level of vaccination rates among providers and staff, the lower the infection rate is among patients who are dependent upon them for care. Now is the time to act. I’m urging everyone, but especially those fighting this virus on the front lines, to get vaccinated and protect themselves, their families, and their patients from COVID-19.”

CMS is developing an Interim Final Rule with Comment Period that will be issued in October. CMS expects certified Medicare and Medicaid facilities to act in the best interest of patients and staff by complying with new COVID-19 vaccination requirements. Health care workers employed in these facilities who are not currently vaccinated are urged to begin the process immediately. Facilities are urged to use all available resources to support employee vaccinations, including employee education and clinics, as they work to meet new federal requirements.


Please note that RCPA is working diligently with the Department of Health, Department of Human Services, and the Governor’s Office in order to obtain clarification of the above information. In this way, we will be able to fully understand the impact of this expansion. If you have any questions, please contact your RCPA Policy Director.