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On the Hill: House Explores Fourth COVID-19 Funding Bill

Less than a week after President Trump signed a $2 trillion aid package for the response to COVID-19, House Democratic leaders announced plans to develop a fourth COVID-19 supplemental funding bill.

Media reports suggest this fourth legislative package could include measures to enhance protections for health care workers. The timing of this legislation is unknown, as both chambers are out of session until April 20.

The package approved last week — the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act — was the third in a series of COVID-19 legislation. It allocates emergency funding for hospitals and other providers; cancels the scheduled $4 billion cut to Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments for fiscal year (FY) 2020 and reduces the scheduled reduction in FY 2021 by $4 billion; and suspends the Medicare sequester cut through the end of the 2020 calendar year, among other relief measures.

The legislation provides $100 billion for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund to cover nonreimbursable health care–related expenses or lost revenue attributable to COVID-19 for eligible providers. The bill also includes $250 million for grantees or subgrantees of the Hospital Preparedness Program and expands the Accelerated and Advance Payments Program to provide access to advance Medicare payments during the COVID-19 emergency.

America’s Essential Hospitals published a detailed description of these and other provisions relevant to essential hospitals in a special COVID-19 Update and issued a statement thanking congressional leaders for recognizing the support essential hospitals need during this unprecedented crisis.

The association will host a members-only webinar on the CARES Act this Wednesday, April 1, at 1 pm ET.

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About the Author

Erin Delaney is a former legislative affairs associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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