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$1.48B in CARES Act funds for EMS released

The third round of COVID-19 relief funding is meant to cover up to 88% of lost revenue and increased expenses


The Department of Health and Human Services has released a third phase of COVID-19 relief funding under the CARES Act.

Photo/Karolina Grabowska, Pexel

By Laura French

WASHINGTON — The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the release of a third round of COVID-19 relief funds under the CARES Act on Wednesday.

Of the $24.5 billion released for Phase 3 of the COVID-19 Provider Relief Fund, $1.48 billion is going to “ambulance, or transportation services providers,” according to HHS. The funds are meant to cover up to 88% of losses from reduced revenue and/or increased expenses due to the pandemic during the first and second quarters of 2020.

Not all ambulance services will be eligible for Phase 3 relief funds, according to a statement from EMS legal firm Page, Wolfberg and Wirth (PWW). Applicants won’t receive additional funds if they experienced no changes in revenue or expenses attributable to COVID-19, or if they have already received relief funds equivalent to or exceeding 88% of their reported losses. PWW added that some services that requested funds may receive more than anticipated, as HHS originally planned to distribute only $20 billion total in Phase 3.

EMS agencies can look for a bank deposit labeled, in part, “HHS Stimulus” to see if they were granted additional relief funds. Agencies will also receive an email alert about the payments from the Health Resources and Services Administration in the near future.

“While this money is a grant and not a loan, like prior rounds of CARES Act relief funds, there are strings attached. You must track how this money is spent,” the PWW statement reads.

Agencies will need to report the money spent in 2020 by February 2021, while funds spent in 2021 must be reported by July 1, 2021, although it is unclear if that means all Phase 3 funds must be spent by that date, according to PWW.