Operator error means some could miss $100,000 or more in Supplier Relief Fund payments

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A vendor error could mean the loss of $100,000 or more in Vendor Relief Fund money for some senior living organizations.

The Health Resources & Services Administration said several providers deemed eligible for Phase 4 PRF payments have not yet created Optum Pay accounts, according to LeadingAge. Without such an account, HRSA cannot distribute payments of $100,000 or more to vendors.

According to LeadingAge, HRSA has made several attempts to notify vendors of this step to obtain Phase 4 funding. Vendors who have applied for Phase 4 PRF payments but have not received them should verify that they have an account. Optum Pay established.

A spokeswoman for LeadingAge said McKnight Senior Residence that the organization has asked HRSA for a list of providers – including assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and home and community service providers – whose funds have been approved, so that it can determine the number of providers affected and whether providers in one face more challenges than those in other settings.

Access to Provider Relief Fund dollars is essential for all providers, she added, given the various factors that aging service providers face, including workforce challenges in a tight labor market and inflation that increases operating costs.

Suppliers who do not have an account are encouraged to begin the registration process, which can take up to two weeks. HRSA said it will continue to attempt to distribute payments to eligible vendors on a weekly basis, but it could take up to two additional weeks after signing up for Optum Pay for vendors to receive payments.

HRSA encouraged providers to claim their available funds as soon as possible. LeadingAge said that although HRSA has not provided any additional information, unclaimed funds may soon be returned to the PRF for redistribution to other providers.

In April, HRSA announced that more than $1.75 billion in Phase 4 Vendor Relief Fund payments went to more than 36,000 vendors. With this distribution, approximately $21 billion in funding would have been distributed; $13.5 billion in PRF payments have been sent to nearly 86,000 vendors, and nearly $7.5 billion in U.S. bailout rural payments have been sent to more than 44,000 vendors since November.

With this announcement, 92% of all Phase 4 PRF applications had been processed. At the time, the US Department of Health and Human Services said it was on track to complete reviewing applications in May.

Vendors can use Vendor Relief Fund payments received in the first half of 2022 to cover losses and expenses through June 30, 2023.

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