COVID-19 UPDATE #115
December 16, 2020
PHASE 3 COVID-19 PROVIDER FUNDING PAYMENT FOR ASSISTED LIVING AND SKILLED NURSING
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced today the distribution of the Phase 3 Provider Relief Funding, which includes funding for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. HHS announced it has completed review of Phase 3 applications from the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) program and will distribute $24.5 billion to over 70,000 providers. Up from the $20 billion originally planned, the addition of another $4.5 billion in funding is being used to satisfy close to 90 percent of each applicant’s reported lost revenues and net change in expenses caused by the coronavirus pandemic in the first half of 2020. HHS did not provide us with a list of who will be getting paid in this first wave distribution, but assured us that if someone doesn’t receive a payment, there isn’t necessarily an issue with the application, it is just a timing consideration for applications they have processed to date and that they are working through the remaining half now (and hope to complete their review of those soon).

Relief funding for assisted living communities is a much anticipated part of this distribution. Argentum and NCAL have been advocating for this support and relief for the assisted living industry for months and after a long, encumbered road, substantial relief in the tens of millions of dollars is finally on its way to providers. The revenue lost and expenses shouldered by our assisted living communities during this pandemic has been significant, and this funding will assist in recouping a major portion of those losses from the first half of the year. We sincerely thank all of those across the industry who have worked alongside Argentum and NCAL, tirelessly advocating for this financial support.
With these payments, HHS has indicated this will meet 88 percent of the losses reported by providers over the first half of 2020. Half of those who applied for Phase 3 will begin receiving funding immediately, with many receiving payments today, and the remaining payments to be distributed in late December to early January.
AMENDED DEAR ADMINISTRATOR LETTER UPDATES PROVIDERS ON DOH PROCESS FOR POINT-OF-CARE TESTING REPORTING
In an amended Dear Administrator letter dated December 16, 2020 (original letter was December 2, 2020), both assisted living and skilled nursing providers are given updated information on the Department of Health (DOH) process for point-of-care testing reporting. The letter is amended to:
  • Notify facilities that the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) reporting process website has been updated.
  • Clarify that facilities are NOT required to report to both local and state public health authorities, but they must report to one. If a facility is currently reporting to the local health jurisdiction (LHJ), they may continue to do so unless the LHJ requests results be sent to the DOH.
  • Amend email contact information at the close of the letter to provide a more direct communication if there are questions about the state reporting requirements.

If providers have questions about state COVID test reporting, the letter instructs them to email the DOH Surveillance Section.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
WHCA continues to post resources and information as it becomes available on our website. If you have questions or need additional information, please call the WHCA office at (800) 562-6170.