America’s Essential Hospitals in a May 5 letter urged the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to allocate $20 billion to essential hospitals that serve large Medicaid and low-income patient populations to ensure the stability of the nation’s health care safety net.
Lawmakers authorized $100 billion for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund, known as the provider relief fund, in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The association called on HHS to keep essential hospitals in mind as the agency decides how to distribute the remaining dollars in the provider relief fund.
The association thanked HHS for distributing a total of $12 billion targeted to certain hospitals in areas with severe virus outbreak, with additional payments to these hospitals based on Medicare and Medicaid DSH and uncompensated care payments. However, even with this targeted allocation, essential hospitals continue to face dire fiscal futures. The association wrote that allocating $20 billion in funding to essential hospitals would be a significant step toward ensuring the stability and future viability of the nation’s safety net. Further, these funds would help bring parity between essential hospitals and hospitals that received the greatest relief from other fund allocation distributions.
The letter also details how essential hospitals have taken extraordinary steps to prepare and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, requiring significant investment that has strained their already limited resources. Compounding these financial restraints, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the patients and communities served by essential hospitals particularly hard, as their patient populations — which often face social risk factors and comorbidities — are most at risk of contracting and facing serious complications from COVID-19.
The association developed a members only COVID-19 funding tracker, capturing opportunities for essential hospitals to access needed resources. We encourage all members to visit the America’s Essential Hospitals coronavirus resource page for more information about the outbreak.
Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.