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WASHINGTON — Health care providers are eagerly awaiting billions of dollars from a Covid-19 relief fund. But President Biden’s health department has not yet tasked a point person with making final policy decisions on the program.

Amid all the other pandemic-related issues the Health and Human Services Department is dealing with, much work remains on the provider grant fund. Congress put HHS in charge of sending providers $187 billion, but there has been meager public disclosure about how much money is actually left. HHS will have to make decisions on who will receive the remaining money, and when it will go out. Hospitals and other health care providers are getting antsy.


In addition to concerns about new grants, providers have complained of slow processing times for existing funding applications. As of the end of 2020, only $8.5 billion of a $24.5 billion tranche that HHS promised providers in October had actually been deposited, according to a Government Accountability Office report. HHS, which Congress tasked with running the program, hasn’t given final guidance on how health care providers and hospitals are supposed to provide a paper trail for the more than $100 billion they have already received.

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