Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan announced on April 22 how officials intend to allocate the next round of funding from the provider relief fund established in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (P.L. 116-136) [see Washington Highlights, March 27]. The $100 billion provider relief fund is intended to support health care-related expenses or lost revenue attributable to the coronavirus.
HHS released $30 billion from the fund on April 10, which allocated funds to all Medicare Part A and Part B providers based on their share of total Medicare fee-for-service reimbursements in 2019 [see Washington Highlights, April 10].
This second tranche of funding will be distributed through four new allocations, including:
- A general allocation of $20 billion for providers with low Medicare fee-for-service reimbursement or who predominantly serve Medicaid patients.
- A targeted allocation of $10 billion for hospitals in areas that have been particularly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, which will be allocated based on hospitals’ number of intensive care unit beds, number of COVID-19 patients treated, and disproportionate share hospital payments.
- A rural allocation of $10 billion for hospitals and health clinics in rural areas.
- An allocation of $400 million for the Indian Health Service.
HHS did not confirm when the second round of funding would be paid to providers.
Separately, the Health Resources and Services Administration released information related to COVID-19 testing and treatment reimbursement for the uninsured. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (P.L. 116-127) provided $1 billion in funding for COVID-19 testing of uninsured patients, and the Trump administration has stated additional plans to use a currently unspecified portion of the provider relief fund to pay for the treatment of uninsured COVID-19 patients. Additional information about the submission of claims for these funds will be made available soon.