An additional $4 billion in Provider Relief Funds has been earmarked for healthcare providers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), safety net hospitals, providers in rural and certain small metropolitan areas, and dentists may receive funding through this latest tranche of $175 billion in relief funds allocated to hospitals and other healthcare providers through the CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act.
More Money to Safety Net Hospitals
While HHS previously distributed $10 billion to safety net hospitals, some acute care hospitals did not qualify under the initial guidelines. With this latest announcement, an additional $3 billion will go to certain acute care hospitals meeting the revised profitability threshold of less than 3 percent averaged consecutively over two or more of the last five cost reporting periods.
According to estimates by HHS, 215 acute care facilities will benefit from the revised guidelines, resulting in a total of $12.8 billion in Provider Relief payments to 959 safety net facilities.
Expanded Definition of Rural Brings Additional Funds
After distributing $10 billion in Provider Relief Funds to around 4,000 rural hospitals, health clinics, and health centers back in May, HHS is now expanding the payment formula to include additional providers in certain special rural Medicare designation hospitals in urban areas as well as other suburban hospitals that are not considered rural but serve rural populations and operate with smaller profit margins and limited resources than larger hospitals.
Based on HHS estimates, this additional $1 billion in funding will go to 500 additional hospitals, with payments ranging from $100,000 to $4,500,000 for rural designated providers and $100,000 to $2,000,000 for the other providers.
Dentists Added to the Enhanced Provider Relief Fund Payment Portal
Dentists who have not previously been eligible to receive funding may now join Medicaid, Medicaid managed care, and CHIP providers to report their annual patient revenue information on the Enhanced Provider Relief Fund Payment Portal for possible funding. Eligible dentists have until July 24, 2020 to apply for funding of up to two percent of their annual reported patient revenue.
HHS said this second phase of General Distribution will continue to expand to include other providers submitting applications for future relief funding opportunities or as directed by HHS.
For more information about these new Provider Relief Fund opportunities, review the HHS press release “HHS Announces Over $4 Billion in Additional Relief Payments to Healthcare Providers Impacted by the Coronavirus Pandemic,” and read the recent Fierce Healthcare article “HHS Allocates Another $4B in COVID-19 Relief Funds to Rural Facilities, Safety Net Hospitals.”
Distribution of COVID-19 Provider Relief Funds
Early in the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, Congress allocated $175 billion in relief funds to hospitals and other healthcare providers through the bipartisan CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. The graph below offers an overview of at how that money has distributed so far, including approximately $60 billion not yet earmarked.
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