On June 9, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced the distribution of approximately $35 billion from the Provider Relief Fund to certain Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) providers and providers serving safety-net hospitals. The funding helps fulfill the diverse needs of key county health care providers such as Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospitals (DSH), behavioral health providers and assisted living facilities, many of which are relying on assistance to keep their doors open during this public health crisis.
HHS is expected to distribute approximately $15 billion to eligible Medicaid providers that participate in state Medicaid and CHIP programs and that have not received a payment from the Provider Relief Fund General Allocation authorized under the CARES Act (P.L. 116-136) legislation. In addition to this, the department will allocate $10 billion from the Provider Relief Fund to safety-net hospitals that serve many uninsured and underinsured residents. The disbursement to safety-net hospitals will take place within a week of the June 9 announcement by June 16. The agency is also expected to announce an additional application window for $10 billion in "hotspot" funding.
To apply for funding, HHS will launch a Medicaid and CHIP Targeted Distribution Provider Relief Fund Payment Portal that will allow eligible providers to report their annual patient revenue, which will be used as a factor in determining their Provider Relief Fund payment. The payment to each provider will be at least two percent of reported gross revenue; the final amount each provider receives will be determined after the data is submitted. More information about the application process can be found at this link.
The initial General Distribution provided payment to approximately 62 percent of all providers participating in state Medicaid and CHIP programs. Under the Medicaid and CHIP targeted distribution, funding from the Provider Relief Fund will be made available to the remaining 38 percent of providers, which will encompass several hundred thousand additional providers.
Clinicians that participate in state Medicaid and CHIP programs and/or Medicaid managed care organizations who have not yet received funding may submit their annual patient revenue information to the Medicaid and CHIP Targeted Distribution Provider Relief Fund Payment Portal to receive a distribution equal to at least 2% of their annual revenue. This funding will supply relief to Medicaid providers experiencing lost revenues or increased expenses due to COVID-19. Examples of possible providers for this funding includes dentists, pediatricians, opioid treatment and behavioral health providers, assisted living facilities and other home and community-based services providers. With this and previous distributions from the Fund, HHS has committed approximately $112.4 billion, leaving $62.6 billion yet to be committed or distributed.
Across the country, counties support nearly 1,000 hospitals, make key financial contributions to the Medicaid program, and plan and operate community-based services for persons with mental illness and substance abuse conditions through 750 behavioral health authorities. Given these investments, NACo has advocated for direct allocations to Medicaid providers in the provider relief fund, and will continue to track progress on the distribution of these funds.
For additional resources on COVID-19 and counties, please see the following links:
- HHS announces enhanced provider portal, relief fund payments for safety-net hospitals, Medicaid and CHIP providers (HHS press release)
- CARES Act Provider Relief Fund (HHS information page)
- COVID-19 Pandemic: County Response Efforts & Priorities (NACo COVID-19 resource page)
- NACo Letter to Congressional Leadership on Medicaid & COVID-19 (NACo letter to Capitol Hill)
- Partnership for Medicaid Letter to Secretary of HHS (NACo coalition letter)