Led by the American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA), over 60 public health organizations representing patients, health care professionals, hospitals, public health, laboratories, and diagnostic manufacturers have sent a letter urging the U.S. Congress to replenish the HRSA COVID-19 Uninsured Relief Fund.

Click here to view the letter sent by the ACLA and others to Congressional leadership.

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) COVID-19 Uninsured Relief Fund was established by Congress via the 2020 Families First Coronavirus Response Act and then replenished through the passing of the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act. The fund acts as a reimbursement system for COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccination services provided to uninsured or underinsured Americans by healthcare providers.

The Uninsured Relief Fund is cited as greatly expanding access for uninsured Americans to COVID-related healthcare without fear of overwhelming costs. By freeing those seeking care from the burdens of cost-sharing, more Americans seek treatment or screening for COVID without hesitation.

By removing such hurdles from patients, the American healthcare system is better able to both treat those with COVID-19 and allow those potentially exposed to COVID then know if they’re possibly infectious and risk spreading the virus to others.

Political inaction and failure to legislate further appropriation of funds for the program means that many laboratory service providers, according to the ACLA, will be “left without recourse to handle the influx of demand from uninsured Americans, forcing them to make decisions about the long-term sustainability of providing COVID-19 tests and services.”

Since March 22nd, 2022, the fund has been unable to distribute reimbursements and as of April 5th officially stopped accepting reimbursement claims due to the expiration of designated funding originally replenished by Congress.

Many providers fear the re-introduction of cost-sharing will see uninsured Americans simply avoid seeking any treatment for possible infection of COVID-19, and worry about the impact such will have on future waves in the next stage of the pandemic.