Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Psychiatrists Can Now Apply for COVID-19 Provider Relief Funding

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced $20 billion in new funding for an expanded group of behavioral health providers, including psychiatrists, in the third round of distributions from the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund. HHS is encouraging providers to apply as soon as possible for the funds.

Providers who have previously received a payment under phase 1 or phase 2 of the General Distribution are eligible to apply for a payment even if they have previously received a disbursement of 2% of annual revenue from patient care. Providers who have not previously received a General Distribution payment, such as psychiatrists whether or not they take insurance, may also apply for funds.

“Our behavioral health providers have shouldered the burden of responding and confronting this expanded challenge [of mental health needs] triggered by the pandemic,” stated an HHS press release announcing the Phase 3 General Distribution. “When traditional face-to-face counseling was restricted and new telehealth flexibilities were put in place in response to the pandemic, many behavioral health providers invested in and adopted telehealth technologies to continue providing patient care.”

According to the release, HHS has already issued over $100 billion in relief funding to providers through in prior distributions. The Phase 3 General Distribution will include funds for providers who previously received, rejected, or accepted a General Distribution Provider Relief Fund payment; as well as those who were previously ineligible, such as psychiatrists, whether or not they bill insurance, and providers who began practicing in 2020.

Funding for the Phase 3 General Distribution was made possible through the bipartisan Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, which allocated $175 billion in relief funds to hospitals and other health care providers. Providers have until November 6 to apply for Phase 3 General Distribution funding.

Information about the Provider Relief Fund and how to apply is available on the APA website, which also includes a link to an Application and Attestation Portal for physicians who want to apply for funds.


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