Amid the national response to the COVID-19 crisis, several states are using their own means to make resources available to hospitals on the front lines of this public health emergency.
For example, two states — Massachusetts and Pennsylvania — have used the Medicaid program and new a loan program, respectively, to ensure hospitals have the financial resources they need.
On April 7, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced that MassHealth, the state Medicaid agency, will infuse $800 million in stabilization funding to support the health care field during the pandemic. The funding will go to hospitals, nursing facilities, primary care providers, behavioral health providers, and long-term services and support providers April through July 2020.
More than half of this funding will go to 28 hospitals serving high numbers of Medicaid patients and filling a safety-net role throughout the state. To address increased costs and lost revenue due to COVID-19, these funds include a 20 percent rate increase for COVID-related care and a 7.5 percent across-the-board rate increase for hospital care.
Pennsylvania created the Hospital Emergency Loan Program, to help hospitals adversely affected by the pandemic. The purpose of this program is to provide hospitals with funding and resources until funding under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act is fully distributed.
Loans will cover expenses related to working capital (i.e., payroll, pharmaceutical supplies, personal protective equipment, and contract staffing costs), fixed assets, and machinery and equipment (i.e., hospital beds, ventilators and other necessary medical equipment). Loans of up to $10 million will be available to licensed hospitals across the state. The loan carries a 0.5 percent interest rate and must be repaid by Sept. 25, 2020.