HHS Issues COVID-19 Announcements re Provider Funding, PREP Act Amendment Expanding Access to Some COVID-19 Therapies, and Alterations to their Distribution

Sep 27, 2021

HHS Announces Availability of $25.5B in COVID-19 Provider Funding

The Biden-Harris Administration recently announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), is making $25.5 billion in funding available for health care providers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including $8.5 billion in American Rescue Plan (ARP) resources for providers who serve rural Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or Medicare patients, and an additional $17 billion for Provider Relief Fund (PRF) Phase 4 for a broad range of providers who can document revenue loss and expenses associated with the pandemic.  This newly available funding is a part of unspent COVID-19 relief funds allocated per the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2020.  Additional information is included in this Epstein Becker article. Combined application for ARP rural funding and PRF Phase 4 will open on September 29.

For more information about eligibility requirements, the documents and information providers will need to complete their application, and the application process for PRF Phase 4 and ARP Rural payments, visit: https://www.hrsa.gov/provider-relief/future-payments.

Some of AmerisourceBergen’s community physician and pharmacy customers may be interested in utilizing these resources. HRSA included “pharmacies” in the definition of “eligible providers.”  Our physician and pharmacy partners should know that the Announcement includes a link for instructions regarding the September 30, 2021 deadline (extended by 60 days) for meeting the reporting deadlines for those receiving over $10K from April 10 to June 30, 2020.

HHS Issues 9th COVID-19 Amendment to PREP Act – Expands Access to COVID-19 Therapeutics at Pharmacies 

The Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) recently issued its 9th amendment to the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) to provide liability immunity to and expand the scope of authority for licensed pharmacists to order and administer select COVID-19 therapeutics (monoclonal antibodies) to populations authorized by the FDA and for pharmacy technicians and pharmacy interns to administer COVID-19 therapeutics to populations authorized by the FDA when certain criteria are met.  Expiration of the 9th PREP Act amendment appears to follow the same timeline as the other amendments that granted authorities for pharmacy personnel:  1) if done under a federal contract, expires Oct. 2024; 2) if done outside a federal contract, expires when the public health emergency ends or Oct. 2024, whichever is sooner.

The announcement is responsive to the urgings in August of several national pharmacy associations with which AB partners (e.g. American Society for Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), American Pharmacists Association (APhA), National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), National Association of Specialty Pharmacies (NASP), et al) for the federal government to issue this amendment to help ensure patient access to certain COVID-19 therapies at pharmacies and hospitals.  Read a pharmacy association letter to HHS requesting this action and a summary/fact sheet of this 9th PREP Act Amendment.

HHS Alters COVID-19 Monoclonal Antibody Distribution Process

As the Delta COVID-19 variant continues to spread across the U.S., on Monday, September 13, HHS updated the distribution process for monoclonal antibodies (distributed by AmerisourceBergen) to ensure consistent availability of these therapies for current and future patients in all geographic areas of the country.  HHS is now determining weekly distribution amounts for each state/territory based on reports of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in addition to data on inventories and use submitted in HHSProtect.  More information is available here on AmerisourceBergen’s external COVID-19 updates page.