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Newhouse Backs Legislation to Support Rural Health Care Providers

September 2, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) cosponsored H.R. 4735, the Provider Relief Fund Deadline Extension Act. This legislation delays Provider Relief Funds (PRF) repayment until the end of 2021 or the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic public health emergency period, allowing hospitals to have extended access and opportunity to use federal funds that were already allocated to support them.

“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.”

Click here to read the full text of the bill.

“The Provider Relief Fund Deadline Extension Act will correct a hastily applied arbitrary deadline and recognizes that this fight is far from over. Thank you, Congressman Newhouse, for supporting our frontline healthcare workers,” said John Reynolds, Chief Executive Officer, North Valley Hospital District.

Background:

  • The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act established – and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act added to – the PRF in light of the COVID-19 pandemic to support hospital and provider response to the crisis. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) allocated a total of $178 billion to providers. 
  • HHS announced that if providers do not use their allocated funds by a certain deadline, they are required to return the money to HHS. 
  • The most recent change in reporting requirement guidance came less than one month prior to the first deadline to use funds, which was on June 30, 2021.
  • Similar legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Michael Bennet (D-CO).

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