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Trump Signs $2 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Package

President Trump has signed a $2 trillion package of COVID-19 aid that provides $100 billion to hospitals and other providers, averts cuts to Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments, suspends Medicare sequester cuts, and includes numerous other relief measures.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes $100 billion, available until expended, for a Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund to reimburse eligible health care providers for health care–related expenses or lost revenue attributable to COVID-19. The bill also includes $250 million for grantees or subgrantees of the Hospital Preparedness Program.

In another provision important to essential hospitals, the CARES Act cancels the scheduled $4 billion cut to Medicaid DSH funding for fiscal year (FY) 2020 and delays the FY 2021 cut until Dec. 1, 2020, and reduces it from $8 billion to $4 billion. Notably, the bill does not add the cuts on the back end in later years.

The law temporarily suspends the Medicare sequester payment reduction from May 1 through Dec. 31, 2020. However, it also extends the sequester one year on the back end, through 2030. The CARES Act also adds a 20 percent increase to the Medicare diagnosis-related group code for discharged COVID-19 patients during the coronavirus emergency.

America’s Essential Hospitals published a detailed description of these and other provisions relevant to essential hospitals in a special COVID-19 Update yesterday.

Following Senate passage of the CARES Act Wednesday, America’s Essential Hospitals issued a statement thanking congressional leaders for recognizing the support essential hospitals need during this unprecedented crisis.

The association will update members as it learns more about how the administration will implement the law’s provisions. Questions may be directed to Carlos Jackson, vice president of legislative affairs, at cjackson@essentialhospitals.org.

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