Some lawmakers and healthcare providers are calling on the Biden administration to extend a deadline for hospitals to spend emergency coronavirus funding, with more than $30 billion remaining to be distributed out of about $187 billion Congress approved.
The money is intended to help hospitals cover losses related to the Covid-19 pandemic, but delays have dogged the program. Hospitals must spend the money by June 30 or return it, but many say they need more time because they are still feeling the financial sting from the pandemic.
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said his agency was reviewing the extension requests.
“We are again going to be driven by the facts in this case to make sure those providers who have a need get those needs addressed,” he said at a recent House subcommittee budget hearing about the distribution of the funds.
Congress allocated the money to the provider relief fund in several bills dating to the Trump administration. About $24 billion remained in the Cares Act Provider Relief Fund as of May 17, not including a further $8.5 billion added for rural health providers from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act passed in March, according to HHS spokesman Scott Kodish.