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 SNFs to Get $4.9 Billion from CARES Act as COVID-19 Battle Continues

Long term care providers will get some much-needed financial relief to help them battle the COVID-19 pandemic after the federal government said it will allocate $4.9 billion to certified skilled nursing centers from the Provider Relief Fund created by the CARES Act, according to Mark Parkinson, president and chief executive officer of the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL).
Calling the funds “essential” for SNFs that have experienced greatly higher costs tied to the pandemic, like for purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE) and to pay for increased staffing, Parkinson says long term care providers have been on the front lines for months in the COVID-19 crisis.
“Every provider, whether you have cases of COVID-19 or not, is fighting to protect residents or keep the virus out of the building. This has required substantial outlays for PPE, testing, agency staff, and hero pay for regular staff as we isolate and cohort residents, prevent staff from working across units, and increase cleaning and infection control procedures,” he says.
“If a nursing home has COVID-positive patients, those costs double and triple.”

To speed the allocation of Provider Relief Funds, Parkinson says providers will be paid electronically where possible. And, providers that normally receive a paper check for reimbursement from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will receive a paper check in the mail for this payment as well, within the next few weeks. 
He also notes that the Department of Health and Human Services will make relief fund distributions to SNFs based on both a fixed basis and variable basis, each SNF will receive a fixed distribution of $50,000, plus a distribution of $2,500 per bed, and providers must attest that they will only use Provider Relief Fund payments for permissible purposes and agree to comply with future government audit and reporting requirements.
As for assisted living communities, Parkinson says “unfortunately” these providers still have not received the relief funds they need. This has happened for a variety of reasons, including that because assisted living is not federally regulated, there is not a simple way to create a group of eligible providers or a methodology to pay them.
“We know this is creating a real hardship for our assisted living members, and we are committed to working on this challenge,” he says.
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