On April 9, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it would begin the delivery of an initial $30 billion in relief funding to health care providers in support of the national response to COVID-19.
This funding is part of the distribution of the $100 billion provider relief fund provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act recently passed by Congress and signed by President Trump.
The CARES Act allocated $100 billion in funding through the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund to address medical surge capacity issues and offset the cost of increased health care related expenses and loss revenue for local health care providers.
The initial $30 billion in immediate relief funds does not require an application process and will go to eligible Medicare providers based on their share of total Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) reimbursements in 2019. HHS has partnered with United Health Group to provide rapidly distribute the $30 billion in funds to eligible providers. Providers can expect to receive the funds via direct deposit or check within the next few weeks. These are payments, not loans, to healthcare providers, and will not need to be repaid.
Following this disbursement, HHS and the Administration are working rapidly on formulas for the release of additional targeted distributions to focus on providers hard hit by the COVD-19 outbreak, rural providers, and important for counties- providers who predominately serve the Medicaid population. This supplemental funding will also be used to reimburse providers for COVID-19 care for uninsured Americans.
Counties are an integral part of the federal-state-local-partnership in the Medicaid program, which has helped counties provide a safety-net for the indigent and uninsured, while reducing the frequency of uncompensated care and lessening the strain on county budgets.
For additional resources on the HHS announcement and CARES Act provisions, please see the following links:
- HHS Guidance on Provider Relief Funds (Federal guidance)
- NACo’s Analysis of the Coronavirus AID, Relief, and Economic Security Act (NACo legislative analysis)