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DOH Updates Nursing Home VAPAP Site

Nursing home members seeking Vital Access Provider (VAP) or Vital Access Provider Assurance Program (VAPAP) funding should be aware that the Department of Health (DOH) has updated some dates and other information on the Nursing Home VAPAP webpage. DOH is currently accepting applications for 2023-24 funding with quarterly due dates of Aug. 1st and Nov. 1st in 2023 and Feb. 1st in 2024. To be eligible to apply for 2023-24 VAPAP funding, a home must have less than 20 days of cash as of Dec. 31, 2022 OR have had a negative operating margin within the last two complete calendar years. Last year’s State Budget (Fiscal Year (FY) 23) added nursing homes as eligible applicants and allocated $100 million in VAPAP funding in each of two FYs (i.e., FY23 and FY24) specifically to nursing homes.

VAPAP provides short-term financial relief dollars to maintain operations and vital services. It is similar but distinct from the VAP program, which provides temporary (up to three years) operating assistance to financially distressed providers for the purpose of redesigning their health care delivery systems to promote financial sustainability. Funding is provided for operational costs associated with multi-year transformation initiatives that address financial viability, community service needs, quality of care, and health equity. DOH recommends that providers who apply for VAPAP funds consider whether their overall plan for long-term sustainability will require funding through the VAP program. Providers interested in filing a VAP application should direct all inquiries to NHVAP@health.ny.gov with "VAP" in the subject line.

The site indicates that applications for VAPAP may include reference to the filing of a subsequent VAP application, but VAPAP funds requested in the application should include only requests for short-term financial assistance. This is inconsistent with the prior guidance that the VAPAP application be used as the initial point of entry for those seeking VAP funding as well. In light of this, those interested in applying for VAP alone may first want to contact DOH at NHVAP@health.ny.gov for guidance.

In response to our questions, DOH has clarified that providers who received VAPAP funding for 2022-23 can apply for 2023-24 funding as well. As of April 30th, some applications from past submission cycles were still undergoing review. DOH indicated that any official rejections would prompt a letter to the applicant. Although not reflected on the site, the FY24 State Budget adopted earlier this month now permits VAPAP funding to be used for the retirement of long-term debt as well as consultant fees.

The DOH Nursing Home VAPAP site is here, and a previously published summary of the program is available here.

Contact: Darius Kirstein, dkirstein@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8841