On the evening of May 1, 2020, HHS announced that it will distribute an additional $22 billion in payments from the Provider Relief Fund to hospitals with high volumes of COVID-19 patients ($12 billion) and rural hospitals ($10 billion) in the coming days. Qualifying hospitals will receive funds via direct deposit and will likely be subject to the same attestation requirements as prior tranches of Provider Relief Fund distributions. Congress has appropriated $175 billion to the Provider Relief Fund created by the CARES Act.
As of April 10, HHS found that 395 hospitals had already provided care to 100 or more COVID-19 patients – those hospitals will receive a share of the $12 billion high-impact dollars based on a “simple formula” that distributes $10 billion by a “fixed amount per COVID-19 inpatient admission”. HHS will distribute $2 billion “taking into account [the hospitals] Medicare and Medicaid disproportionate share [DSH] and uncompensated care [UC] payments” in recognition of “the amount of care they provide to low-income and uninsured patients.” The breakdown of funds, by state, is available here. The highest distributions were made to hospitals in New York ($5 billion for COVID-19 admissions and $700 million based on proportionate DSH and UC payments) and New Jersey ($1.8 billion total), followed by Michigan ($1 billion total), Illinois ($800 million total), and Massachusetts ($600 million total).
Rural hospitals will receive a share of the $10 billion allocation for providers in rural areas based an “expense-based method” accounting for “operating cost and lost revenue incurred by rural hospitals for both inpatient and outpatient services.” Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs), rural acute care general hospitals, Rural Health Clinics (RHCs), and Community Health Centers in rural areas were eligible for an allocation. A breakdown of funding by state is available here.
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.