The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to ensuring our nation's underserved communities and those disproportionately affected by COVID-19 have equitable access to public health tools needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Read the Administration for Community Living (ACL) - HRSA Statement on COVID-19 support for older adults and individuals with disabilities.
Through the HRSA Health Center COVID-19 N95 Mask Program, health centers and Medicare-certified rural health clinics that elected to participate received N95 masks from the HHS Strategic National Stockpile for free distribution to patients, staff, and any members of the community who request them. These N95 masks are approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
The program began on Monday, January 17, as a time-limited program to distribute high quality N95 masks to underserved communities and populations through health centers. After a program extension, final orders were placed on Monday, June 20.
Participants should continue reporting to HRSA (via the Health Center COVID-19 Survey) on the number of N95 masks they distribute to patients, staff, and members of their community.
- Recommendations and guidance on mask usage are available from the CDC.
- A list of mask manufacturers and models is also available from the CDC .
- BPHC Contact Form – Please select “COVID-19 N95 Mask Distribution Program” from the COVID-19 menu.
Frequently Asked Questions
What was the HRSA Health Center COVID-19 N95 Mask Program?
Through the HRSA Health Center COVID-19 N95 Mask Program, HRSA allocated a direct supply of N95 masks to HRSA-supported health centers and Medicare-certified rural health clinics. This program began incrementally at approximately 500 health centers that serve large patient populations as reported in the 2020 Uniform Data System. It then opened to all HRSA-funded health centers, Health Center Program look-alikes, and Medicare-certified rural health clinics. After an extension, the program concluded, with final orders being placed on Monday, June 20.
Why were health centers and Medicare-certified rural health clinics part of this mask distribution effort?
Health centers provide essential primary care services to nearly 29 million people each year and are able to reach geographically isolated and vulnerable communities. Two-thirds of the population served by health centers are living in poverty, 62% are racial and/or ethnic minorities, and nearly 1.3 million are unhoused. Additionally, approximately 4,800 Medicare-certified rural health clinics ensure primary care access and improve health outcomes for the estimated 62 million Americans who live in rural communities.
In order to ensure that all Americans have access to high-quality N95 masks, all HRSA-supported health centers and Medicare-certified rural health clinics were eligible to receive a shipment of N95 masks to distribute to patients, staff, and other individuals within the community.
Is the HRSA Health Center COVID-19 N95 Mask Program different from the HHS Mask Distribution Program announced in February 2021?
This program was separate from the HHS Mask Distribution Program launched in February 2021, which ended as of September 2021 after distributing more than 12.5 million adult and child-sized masks to health centers.
Are there guidelines regarding who may receive the N95 masks distributed through this program?
The program is intended to ensure that high-quality masks are made available to the nation's underserved communities and those disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Masks should be distributed to patients, staff, and any members of the community who request them.
How many masks can an individual receive from this program?
Individuals should be limited to a maximum of three masks from the HRSA Health Center COVID-19 N95 Mask Program.
Will the masks have costs associated with them? Can patients be charged for masks?
Health centers and Medicare-certified rural health clinics distributing N95 masks purchased by the U.S. government and provided through the HRSA Health Center COVID-19 N95 Mask Program agree to provide the masks at no charge to individuals. Receipt of masks cannot be conditioned on the purchase of other products or services.
Do participants need to provide recipients with guidance or training on the correct use of masks?
Health centers and Medicare-certified rural health clinics are not required to engage in any fit testing, medical evaluations, or training, regardless of whether individuals obtain masks for employment or other purposes. Guidance on mask usage for members of the public is available from the CDC.
What information are health centers expected to report about their distribution of masks received through this program?
Participating health centers must answer the biweekly Health Center COVID-19 Survey questions specific to the HRSA N95 Mask Program. All health centers receiving and distributing N95 masks through this initiative will be asked to report on the number of masks distributed, the method of distribution, and the populations served until inventory is exhausted. Visit the Health Center COVID-19 Survey Tool Questions webpage for a preview of the questions.