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HHS Distributes Targeted COVID-19 Relief Payments

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has begun processing provider relief fund payments targeted to hospitals in severe COVID-19 outbreak areas and rural providers.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act provide a total $175 billion for a provider relief fund to aid hospitals and other providers.

This targeted hospital allocation distributes a total $12 billion to hospitals in areas particularly impacted by COVID-19. HHS will direct-deposit payments to 395 hospitals that provided inpatient care for 100 or more COVID-19 patients through April 10.

Of the total $12 billion, $2 billion is allocated to hospitals based on Medicare and Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) and uncompensated care payments. According to HHS, this group of hospitals accounted for 71 percent of all COVID-19 inpatient admissions.

Hospitals were paid a fixed amount per patient admission, with an additional amount based on Medicare and Medicaid DSH and uncompensated care payments. HHS provided state and county payment amounts in its announcement.

Rural providers will receive $10 billion in relief payments, which includes rural acute care general hospitals, critical access hospitals (CAHs), rural health clinics (RHCs), and community health centers (CHCs) in rural areas. All rural providers will receive a fixed base amount plus a percentage of annual expenses, calculated by costs and lost revenues for inpatient and outpatient services. Rural acute care general hospitals and CAHs will receive a minimum of $1 million, with RHCs and CHCs receiving a minimum of $100,000.

America’s Essential Hospitals issued a statement thanking the administration for the targeted hospital funding while calling for more targeted funding to essential hospitals.

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 eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Gontscharow is a senior policy analyst for America's Essential Hospitals.

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