On May 22, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it would disburse $4.9 billion in CARES Act funding to Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF) impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding could help support counties as we provide critical health services through 824 county-supported nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
The $4.9 billion in funds will be distributed from the Provider Relief Fund, a $175 billion relief fund for health care providers first authorized in the CARES Act (P.L. 116-136) and further supplemented in the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (P.L. 116-139). Funding distributions to nursing homes will be based on both a fixed formula and a variable formula. Each SNF will receive a fixed distribution of $50,000, plus a distribution of $2,500 per bed. All certified SNFs with six or more certified beds are eligible for this targeted distribution.
To receive funding, nursing home recipients will be subject to certain requirements, including certification that Provider Relief Fund payments will only be used for permissible purposes, as well as future government audit and reporting requirements. Funding recipients must also complete these requirements by June 3, 2020. More information can be found at this link and a state-by-state breakdown of the funding allocations can be viewed here.
To date, HHS has allocated approximately $77 billion of the $175 billion Provider Relief Fund. With $97.7 billion left to allocate, the agency is still working to distribute to funds to Medicaid-only providers. For those providers who have already received funding, they must accept or reject the funds by June 3 by accessing the attestation portal. Providers can also use this portal to apply for additional funding and request reimbursement for providing treatment for uninsured COVID-19 individuals.
This latest funding announcement follows recent administrative action on nursing homes addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. On April 19, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a memo with new regulations aimed at improving surveillance of communicable diseases in long-term care facilities as coronavirus cases surge across the country.
For additional resources, please see the following links:
- Guidance for Nursing Home Safety and Preparedness During the Pandemic (CDC guidance)
- Toolkit to Help Nursing Homes Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 (CDC resource)
- NACo Letter to U.S. Senate Leadership on Direct, Flexible Aid for Counties (NACo letter to Capitol Hill)
- County Governments and COVID-19: Key Issues and Resources (NACo legislative brief)