Eric D. Hargan

The Department of Health and Human Services has reversed its position and now says that Medicaid providers who previously received a payment from a general distribution of funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Provider Relief Fund can apply for additional funding.

HHS announced the availability of $15 billion in grants via the phase 2 general distribution (formerly called tranche 2) on June 9, indicating that the funds would be available to the 275,000 providers that care for Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program recipients but did not receive funds in the phase 1 general distribution (formerly called tranche 1). “These Medicaid and CHIP providers typically operate on thin margins and often include practitioners like dentists, pediatricians, assisted living facilities, and behavioral health providers like opioid treatment programs,” Eric D. Hargan, deputy HHS secretary, said at the time.

Now, even providers that received a phase 1 payment can submit applications under phase 2, HHS said Tuesday in updated answers to frequently asked questions.

“Providers who received a previous Phase 1 – General Distribution payment are eligible to apply and, if they have not yet received a payment that is approximately 2% of annual revenue from patient care, may receive additional funds,” HHS said. Such providers must meet the revised eligibility requirements and follow the application instructions available for the distribution.

Applications for phase 2 funding are due Aug. 28.