The American Hospital Association is asking HHS to extend the deadline by which providers have to spend money they received through the Provider Relief Fund.
The funding — intended to help providers weather the financial pressures of the pandemic — must be spent by June 30. Any money unused by that date must be returned to HHS.
AHA asked HHS to let providers spend the funding until the end of the public health emergency.
“Hospitals and health systems continue to incur expenses related to these COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, such as ensuring an adequate workforce, acquiring equipment and supplies such as personal protective equipment, pharmaceuticals and safety equipment, and maintaining testing and additional screening for every hospital patient,” AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack wrote in a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra.
Pollack noted that about 35,000 people are still hospitalized with COVID-19.
The current seven-day average of new admissions is about 4,600, according to the CDC, a 72% drop from the peak recorded in January.
COVID-19 deaths have also hit its lowest point in more than a year as more people get vaccinated.
Congress appropriated $178 billion in provider relief funds to help providers through the pandemic, most of which has already been spent.
As of late March, there was about $32.5 billion in unallocated funds in the PRF, including $8.5 billion appropriated by Congress earlier this year for rural providers.
An HHS spokesperson did not respond to immediate request for comment about whether it is considering extending the deadline for spending the funds.