On Tuesday, June 9, 2020, HHS released an additional $25 billion in relief funding to some hospitals and other health care providers. The release comes after building pressure on the Administration to release more of the $175 billion in health care relief funding that had been provided in earlier COVID-19 legislation.
HHS has had great discretion in how it allocates the funds, thus the recent criticism and calls for the release of more funding. Under the Tuesday announcement, $10 billion will be given to hospitals based on if they have a higher share of Medicaid-covered patients or have taken in a higher number of uninsured patients. The second $15 billion will be given to health care providers, including those that are not hospitals, that had not received earlier emergency funds. According to reports, this portion of the funds will be given to health care providers that participate in the Medicaid and CHIP covered children.
Concerns have been raised that the bigger pot will not help community health centers if they already have received funds. There are concerns that many of these centers have been closing down over the past several weeks. Last week, the American Hospital Association asked the Administration to release $50 billion in federal funding that they already control. The letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar urged HHS to distribute additional funds not just to all hospitals, but to “hot spot” hospitals and hospitals serving high numbers of Medicaid and uninsured patients.
For updated information from HHS and data on the Provider Relief Fund, visit hhs.gov/providerrelief.