COVID-19 & Rural Health Clinics

**NARHC will be updating this page with additional resources throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic**

Rural Health Clinic Testing Fund

Beginning on May 20th, all rural health clinics received just under $50,000 for COVID-19 testing. The following links to the terms and conditions and the FAQ will provide you some guidance on how to spend this money. We understand that there are some important questions (such as how to treat this money on the RHC cost report) that are not yet answered, and we will update this space when we learn more.

COVID-19 RHC testing terms and conditions: https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/terms-and-conditions-rural-testing-relief-fund.pdf

Covid-19 RHC testing fund Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) FAQ: https://www.hrsa.gov/rural-health/coronavirus/frequently-asked-questions

Covid-19 RHC testing fund webinars: https://www.web.narhc.org/narhc/TA_Webinars1.asp

Provider Relief Fund

RHCs have received multiple tranches or allocations of money from the federal government to help with COVID-19. It is important for RHCs to understand why they received the money they did, and what strings may be attached to each allocation.

RHC-Relevant Allocations Table


Details on all provider relief fund allocations can be found at the HHS website: https://www.hhs.gov/coronavirus/cares-act-provider-relief-fund/index.html

Telehealth during COVID-19

Medicare telehealth policy has shifted dramatically for the entire healthcare industry in response to COVID-19. Rural health clinic telehealth policy has also shifted significantly, but in different ways than fee-for-service providers.

The following chart breaks down the types of telehealth services RHC can bill for and how to bill for them.

All RHCs billing for telehealth should review the MLN Matters document: New and Expanded Flexibilities for Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) ~ https://www.cms.gov/files/document/se20016.pdf

Public Health Emergency Duration

The Secretary of Health and Human Service posts their Public Health Emergency Declarations here: https://www.phe.gov/emergency/news/healthactions/phe/Pages/default.aspx

The last declaration was made effective on April 26th and will need to be renewed after 90 days. It is our full expectation that Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar will renew this declaration before the expiration.

Commercial payers may issue their own policies with their own timelines that may or may not depend on the federal government’s declaration of a public health emergency.

Important Links

CDC COVID-19 Data: https://www.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#cases

FDA COVID-19 testing FAQ: https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/emergency-situations-medical-devices/faqs-testing-sars-cov-2

Rural Health Information HUB rural response to Coronavirus: https://www.ruralhealthinfo.org/topics/covid-19