The U.S. Health and Human Services Department announced a new funding opportunity Thursday for providers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic Thursday.
The $20 billion relief fund will be provided through the Health Resources and Services Administration and will allow providers who previously have received Provider Relief Fund payments to apply for additional funding.
Under the Phase 3 General Distribution allocation program, financial losses and changes in operating expenses caused by the coronavirus that previously were not covered now will be considered.
Those who were previously ineligible, such as providers who began practicing in 2020, also will be able to apply. In addition, an expanded group of behavioral health providers confronting the mental health and substance abuse issues exacerbated by the pandemic will be able to receive relief benefits.
A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that cases involving symptoms of anxiety disorders were triple the amount they were during the same period a year ago. The same report showed the prevalence of a depressive disorder has increased by four times since the second quarter of 2019.
To support mental health providers, the HHS partnered with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to increase their funding eligibility. As a result, addiction counseling centers, mental health counselors, and psychiatrists will be able to apply for benefits.
The package comes after HHS issued more than $100 billion in relief funding to providers. Many are still struggling financially, however, because of the impacts of COVID-19.
The new distribution program will include an equitable payment of 2% of annual revenue from patient care for all applicants, in addition to payments accounting for revenue losses and expenses related to the pandemic.
Providers can begin applying for funds Monday, October 5, 2020.