HHS contemplating extending Supplier Reduction Fund deadline, secretary tells Congress

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra on Wednesday stated the company is contemplating extending the deadline that suppliers need to spend aid funds by however didn’t present a timeline of when extra support could be delivered.

Supplier Reduction Funds have to be spent by June 30 or returned to the federal authorities however the American Hospital Affiliation (AHA) and a few lawmakers have referred to as on HHS to increase that deadline by means of at the very least the tip of the yr.

“Some people have requested for an extension. We’re all that very, very carefully,” Becerra stated at an Vitality & Commerce Committee listening to on the HHS funds request. “What I’ll inform you is once more, we’ll be pushed by information on this case to ensure suppliers who’ve a necessity get these wants addressed.”

Suppliers have additionally anxiously awaited the disbursement of the remaining $33 billion within the fund, which is meant to assist suppliers climate the monetary pains of the pandemic.

Becerra did not supply a timeline for when the funding can be awarded, or to what particular kinds of suppliers, though Congress appropriated one other $8.5 billion for rural suppliers earlier this yr. The final disbursement from the fund was in in December.

“We’ll make sure that we will dispense it in a approach that is not solely accountable however it goes to those that want it most,” Becerra stated. “We will demand accountability and transparency.”

He later added below questioning from Rep. Lori Trahan (D-Mass.) that safety-net hospitals and different entrance line suppliers shouldn’t be allowed to “fall by means of the cracks.”

“These safety-net hospitals on the front-line deserve our consideration,” he stated.

Almost $178 billion in supplier aid funding has already been spent below President Trump however some have questioned whether or not it has been spent properly.

Vitality and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) argued Wednesday that the Trump administration did not use the funding for suppliers who had the “best want” and urged Becerra to make modifications.

“This Supplier Reduction Fund ensures front-line staff can preserve their doorways open throughout this time, it is simply crucial funds go to those that want it probably the most,” Pallone stated.

Some richer hospital amenities and well being techniques that acquired funding made earnings final yr, regarding some members of Congress, however different rural and safety-net suppliers argue they nonetheless need assistance, with non-COVID visits nonetheless not again to pre-pandemic ranges in some instances.

“Below my management, I hope you will see HHS attempting to do proper by all those that stepped as much as the plate – these security internet suppliers and that we’re doing the appropriate factor with the Supplier Reduction Fund,” Becerra instructed lawmakers.

“That is why accountability and transparency can be so essential as we disperse these last tranches of {dollars}.”

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