Flag flies next to upper part of Capitol Building

Unless the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or Congress take action to extend the Provider Relief Fund deadline past June 30, providers must use or lose those dollars they have received for coronavirus expenses and lost revenues incurred up until that point.

Members of Congress wrote to Health and Human Services on May 11 asking the agency to extend the deadline for up to a year and provide additional guidance as to how providers may fully use the award money.

“We respectfully request that you extend the June 30 deadline to spend PRF money, and we urge you to distribute the remaining PRF money as soon as possible to get that assistance to providers quickly, as intended by Congress,” the letter reads.

Originally, the PRF reporting guidance indicated that there would be a first report due in February 2021, covering funds and expenses in 2020, and a second and final report due July 31 to account for funds unspent by the end of 2020 used to cover 2021 coronavirus expenses and lost revenues, according to LeadingAge. The Jan. 15 guidance update revoked the February deadline, and providers have received no further information about a July deadline.

“While we share your commitment to ensuring PRF funds are not subject to abuse, these guidelines have significant consequences for providers that operate on thin margins and struggle to maintain cash flow,” the congressional representatives wrote. “We have heard from providers, like rural health clinics (RHCs), critical access hospitals (CAHs), and urban safety net hospitals, who have been especially careful to use the PRF only when they have no other choice for fear of being required to return a significant portion of funds back to HHS. This has resulted in hospitals postponing projects that would greatly assist in responding to the pandemic.”