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Provider Relief and American Rescue Plan Funds Used for Recruitment and Retention

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the federal government has dispensed more than $178 billion as Provider Relief Funds to be used towards any expense attributable to COVID-19[1]. As seen in 2021 with the Great Resignation, the COVID-19 pandemic has and will likely continue to significantly contribute to the rise in burnout and turnover. Employee burnout is one of the leading sources of turnover - which in turn can negatively impact an organization's bottom line. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recognized the magnitude of this recruiting and retention crisis and allowed the use of Provider Relief Fund (PRF)/American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds for employee mental health and stress management purposes.

How We Can Help

A Clari3ty for Recruitment and Retention (R&R) engagement provides leaders actionable intelligence for helping address the evolving needs of their workforce, providing assistance with responsibly allocating PRF/ARP resources where needed most, and empowering leaders to take advantage of the opportunity to improve wellbeing in the near and long term.

These engagements can be accomplished in approximately 10 weeks through three straightforward steps:

ASK – Deploy Clari3ty survey diagnostic across the organization
ANALYZE – Populate data visualization, evaluate initial results, inventory mental health assets, and identify potential needs and gaps to address
ACT – Conduct leadership workshop to define final burnout character, assess intervention options, develop prioritization summary and action plan.


Utilizing Provider Relief Funds to Address the Root Causes of Burnout

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What's New in Phase 2 of the Provider Relief Fund Portal

PRF Phase 2 reporting is upon us! Since the PRF portal opened in the summer of 2021, HHS is now providing additional guidance for Phase 2. The following overview highlights changes to the PRF portal as of January 1, 2022. Phase 2 will remain open through March 31, 2022, at 11:59 PM ET. You may access the PRF portal here. To help organize your reporting, please review these high-level changes to the PRF Reporting Resource Guide for Reporting Period 2.

  • Report Summary Landing Page. The Report Summary landing page provides a summary of active and inactive reports.
  • Lost Revenue Methodology. Recipients will be able to change lost revenue methodology for Period 2. However, the lost revenues must be recalculated for the entire period of availability; the reasoning for changing the methodology is also required. The justification submission is limited to 1000 characters.
    • If budgeted revenues are used for the lost revenue calculation, new uploads of budgets will be required, regardless of whether or not the recipient is changing the methodology.
    • A Lost Revenues Summary for the period of availability will be calculated. Lost revenues will be calculated by quarter and in total based on the information entered.
  • Other Assistance. Other Assistance reported in Step 8 should include CMS Advanced and Accelerated Payments as Other Assistance
  • Payment Transfers. When general distributions are transferred to parent organizations, the general distributions payments will not appear in the subsidiary's PRF reporting portal. However, when targeted distributions are transferred between parent entities and subsidiaries, the targeted distribution will continue to be reported at the targeted distribution recipient level.
  • Prepopulated Fields. Tables that presented the six quarters from January 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021, have been updated to now include eight quarters: January 1, 2020 – December 31, 2021. In general, amounts will be prepopulated based on the previous reporting period but can be edited. A written explanation must be provided if edits are made to prepopulated fields. Note that expense reporting in Steps 9 and 10 will never be prepopulated.
  • Interest Calculations. If PRF funds are only partially expended, interest should be calculated on the remaining unused portion.
  • Adequate Documentation. Reporting entities are required to maintain adequate documentation to support how payments were used for allowable costs and that those costs were not reimbursed or obligated to be reimbursed by other sources.

Reminders

The PRF portal user guide provided additional clarifications and reminders for Period 2 reporting including:

  • Patient metrics should be presented using the provider's basis for bed counts, census and other patient metrics.
  • Nursery and labor beds are typically considered ward beds/med-surgical beds.
  • Survey responses are not prepopulated and should be evaluated separately for each reporting period.
  • There is a two-step process for returning payments. Please review the PRF Return of Unused Funds Portal section at HRSA.gov.

How We Can Help

Our goal at DHG Healthcare is to be your guide along every step of your organization's unique journey toward risk capability. For that reason, our services portfolio is designed around the complex business issues your organization faces every day, including navigating evolving reporting requirements. As a collaborator dedicated to your success, look to DHG Healthcare to combine distinct approaches, informative analytics, and deep technical competencies to guide your organization through the PRF reporting process.

References:

[1] https://www.urban.org/research/publication/more-year-and-half-after-congress-approved-funding-help-health-care-providers-weather-pandemic-billions-178-billion-allocated-remain-unspent

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