Newhouse lends support to Provider Relief Fund Deadline Extension Act

U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) recently signed on as a cosponsor of a bipartisan bill that would help rural hospitals by extending the deadline for healthcare providers to use certain funds received from the COVID-19 Provider Relief Fund. 

Rep. Newhouse on Aug. 31 cosponsored the Provider Relief Fund Deadline Extension Act, H.R. 4735, which would give eligible providers more time to use their allocated Provider Relief Funds. Under the bill, they would have until either Dec. 31, 2021 or the end of the COVID-19 pandemic public health emergency period to use their funds, according to the text of the bill.

“Provider Relief Funds are critical for providers in central Washington looking to treat patients, improve infection control, and protect the health of their workforce, especially for our rural providers that were feeling the strain even before this pandemic,” said Rep. Newhouse. “We need to continue to support our healthcare providers, rural hospitals, and staff as they address the needs of our communities — ensuring they have access to the funds they need is part of this support.”

The bipartisan, bicameral H.R. 4735 was introduced on July 28 by U.S. Reps. Cynthia Axne (D-IA) and Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), while the companion bill, S. 2493, was proposed by U.S. Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) in their chamber on the same date.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act established — and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act added to — the  Provider Relief Funds and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) allocated a total of $178 billion to providers. HHS also announced that if providers did not use their allocated funds by a certain deadline, they would be required to return the money to HHS, according to information provided by Rep. Newhouse’s staff. 

The most recent change in reporting requirement guidance came less than one month prior to the first deadline to use funds on June 30. If enacted, this bill would set the second extension.