HHS Working to Resolve Delays in Relief Fund Distribution to Assisted Living

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is working through issues that are delaying the distribution of government relief funds to some assisted living providers, according to the American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA).

In September, HHS announced that private-pay assisted living providers would be able to tap into Provider Relief Funds, receiving up to 2% of gross 2019 revenue. While the money is urgently needed, some providers have not yet received these funds due to problems that have cropped up in the process. An HHS official addressed the ASHA Executive Board Meeting this week and explained some of the issues.

For instance, HHS has received some provider tax identification numbers (TINs) that have not been validated. The agency is working to validate these applicants who identified as an assisted living provider but were not on a curated list of companies that ASHA and other industry associations collaborated on compiling late in the summer. HHS is also working to address TINs of operators that have been validated but did not follow up to complete an application for funds.

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“HHS will work with ASHA and other organizations to verify those that can be identified and also encourage those who have not yet completed the process to submit an application and/or submit company financial records,” ASHA stated in a communication with its members.

Last week, HHS opened up the Phase 3 allocation of the Provider Relief Fund, and assisted living providers are eligible to apply for these additional funds. This opens up an avenue of support for companies that only began doing business in 2020, and creates the potential for additional dollars for operators that have experienced excessive financial losses due to Covid-19.

The official who addressed ASHA emphasized that providers should apply as soon as possible for the Phase 3 distribution, and pointed to application directions and an FAQ.

“It appears HHS analysts will review applications as they come in and assess the needs, look for patterns, and then make determinations as to the methodology they will use to distribute the funds,” ASHA states. “They would then determine funding levels after the Nov. 6 deadline and the Department hopes funds will be distributed by Thanksgiving.”

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