Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), is announcing it will begin distributing $10 billion in a second round of high impact COVID-19 area funding to hospitals starting next week. As parts of the nation confront a recent surge in positive COVID-19 cases and hospitals elsewhere continue to recover and grapple with the financial hardships caused by the pandemic, HHS recognizes the need to quickly get these funds to frontline health care providers.
“The top priority for HHS’s administration of the Provider Relief Fund has been getting support as quickly as possible to providers who have been hit hard by COVID-19,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “Because we’ve carefully targeted support, we can make payments to areas most in need as the pandemic evolves, like we are doing with this round of funds.”
As COVID-19 continues to disrupt daily lives, HHS is providing support to healthcare providers fighting the pandemic through the bipartisan CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, which allocated $175 billion in relief funds to hospitals and other healthcare providers, including those disproportionately impacted by this pandemic.
On June 8, 2020, HHS sent communications to all hospitals about plans to distribute a second round of funding to high impact COVID-19 areas and asked them to submit data on their COVID-19 positive-inpatient admissions for the period January 1, 2020, through June 10, 2020. Their submissions were used to determine their eligibility and share of the second round of the funding being announced today to ensure hospitals are equitably supported in the battle against this pandemic. Payments from the $10 billion distribution will provide relief to more than 1,000 hospitals across the nation and begin as early as Monday of next week. In May, HHS announced the first round of high impact funding totaling $12 billion that was distributed to 395 hospitals. This means total committed payments for the two rounds of high impact area funding from the Provider Relief Fund program, to date, is over $20 billion, representing almost 12 percent of the entire $175 billion program.
The second round of funding announced today was based on a formula for hospitals with over 161 COVID-19 admissions between January 1 and June 10, 2020, or one admission per day, or that experienced a disproportionate intensity of COVID admissions (exceeding the average ratio of COVID admissions/bed). Hospitals will be paid $50,000 per eligible admission.
The first round of funding was based on a formula that distributed funds to hospitals with 100 or more COVID-19 admissions between January 1 and April 10, 2020 and paid $76,975 per eligible admission. These previous high impact payments were also taken into account when determining each hospital’s payment in this second round distribution.
As some areas of the country face new surges of positive COVID-19 cases, HHS will continue to evaluate and provide necessary relief where possible.
Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Distribution Update
In June, HHS announced the opening of the application period and plans to distribute approximately $15 billion to eligible providers that participate in state Medicaid and CHIP programs who had not yet received a payment from the $50 billion General Distribution. Since the announcement on June 9, HHS has hosted a number of webinars targeted at providers and provider organizations to answer questions and assist those eligible through the application process. A fact sheet explaining the application process has also been created to address frequently asked questions. HHS is continuing to work with provider organizations, congressional, state and local leaders to get the word out about this program. To ensure eligible Medicaid and CHIP providers have the opportunity to apply for a funding distribution, the deadline to apply has been extended to August 3, 2020.