On April 21, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service (“HHS”) announced how the remaining $70 billion of CARES Act funds in the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (“Relief Fund”) will be distributed.  HHS explained that $50 billion of the Relief Fund is allocated for general distribution.  Between April 10 and April 17, HHS made $30 billion in aggregate payments to providers, with each provider receiving a proportionate distribution based on how much that provider billed Medicare fee-for-service in 2019.  The remaining $20 billion will be distributed starting on Friday, April 24 “to augment their allocation so that the whole $50 billion general distribution is allocated proportional to providers’ share of 2018 net patient revenue.”

HHS also announced that $10 billion will be allocated “for targeted distribution to hospitals in areas that have been particularly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.” Hospitals that wish to apply for these funds must provide the following information:

  • Tax Identification Number
  • National Provider Identifier
  • Total number of Intensive Care Unit beds as of April 10, 2020
    Total number of admissions with a positive diagnosis for COVID-19 from January 1, 2020 to April 10, 2020

HHS states that hospitals “have already been contacted” to provide this information through an authentication portal that “should be familiar to most hospitals.”  Hospitals must provide this information  by midnight PT on Thursday April 23, 2020.  While a hospital must submit this information to be considered, HHS also states that “[s]upplying this information does not guarantee receipt of funds from this distribution.”

Providers that have treated uninsured patients for COVID-19 after February 4, 2020 will be able to request claims reimbursement at Medicare rates by registering for the program on April 27, 2020, and submitting claims in early May 2020.  Additional information can be found at: coviduninsuredclaim.hrsa.gov.  Notably, these payments are “subject to available funding” and HHS does not provide the amount that will be made available.

Finally, HHS announced that $10 billion will be provided to rural health clinics and hospitals “on the basis of operating expenses, using a methodology that distributes payments proportionately to each facility and clinic.”

The U.S. Senate has passed and the House of Representatives is expected to approve the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, which would appropriate an additional $75 billion to the Relief Fund.

Norton Rose Fulbright attorneys will continue to provide relevant updates for healthcare providers on the Health Law Pulse during the COVID-19 public health crisis.