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 HHS Allocates $15 Billion in More COVID Relief for Medicaid Providers

New funds have been allocated for providers reimbursed under the Medicaid program, including long term care operators, as part of the Trump administration’s COVID-19 relief effort.

On June 9, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said it released $15 billion in additional distributions from the Provider Relief Fund to eligible Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) providers that participate in state Medicaid and CHIP programs.

“HHS expects to distribute approximately $15 billion to eligible providers that participate in state Medicaid and CHIP programs and have not received a payment from the Provider Relief Fund General Allocation,” the agency said. “HHS is also announcing the distribution of $10 billion in Provider Relief Funds to safety net hospitals that serve our most vulnerable citizens. The safety net distribution will occur this week.”

In response, Mark Parkinson, president and chief executive officer of the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), said, “We applaud the administration for providing specific funding for long term care facilities and other providers who do the valiant work of serving Medicaid beneficiaries.”

He added that “not only are our residents—seniors and those with underlying conditions—most at-risk if they contract COVID-19, but of these individuals, those who also rely on Medicaid are especially vulnerable due to the program's notorious underfunding for care.”

These nursing care centers, assisted living communities, and intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities urgently need these resources from the federal government to acquire testing, equipment, and staffing to protect their residents, Parkinson said.

“We appreciate the administration recognizing this need and hope they expedite the aid to our heroes on the frontlines.”

In announcing the new funding, HHS Secretary Alex Azar said, "health care providers who focus on treating the most vulnerable Americans, including low-income and minority patients, are absolutely essential to our fight against COVID-19."

At the same time, HHS said it is also launching an enhanced Provider Relief Fund Payment Portal that will allow eligible Medicaid and CHIP 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 2 percent of reported gross revenue from patient care; the final amount each provider receives will be determined after the data are submitted, including information about the number of Medicaid patients these providers serve.

“The initial General Distribution provided payments to approximately 62 percent of all providers participating in state Medicaid and CHIP programs. The Medicaid and CHIP Targeted distribution will make the Provider Relief Fund available to the remaining 38 percent,” HHS said.

More information about eligibility and the application process is available at www.hhs.gov/coronavirus/cares-act-provider-relief-fund/general-information/index.html.

For updated information and data on the Provider Relief Fund, visit hhs.gov/providerrelief.

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