HHS announces additional funds for COVID-19 providers
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced new funding to reimburse healthcare providers and organizations caring for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) patients, according to a statement released last week by the agency.
The Provider Relief Fund included $50 allocated for general distribution to Medicare facilities and providers impacted by COVID-19 and is based on eligible providers' 2018 net patient revenue. To expedite funding, $30 billion was distributed immediately, proportionate to providers' share of Medicare fee-for- service reimbursements in 2019. On Friday April 10, $26 billion was delivered to bank accounts. The remaining $4 billion of the expedited $30 billion distribution was sent on April 17.
The additional funding includes over $40 billion and will be divided across four categories of providers, $20 billion for general reimbursement, $10 billion to reimburse providers and facilities in known COVID-19 hot spots, $10 billion for rural healthcare providers and facilities, and $400 million for healthcare providers and the Indian Health Service, according to the statement.
The agency is requiring providers to submit documentation through a new online portal to prevent fraud and misuse and ensure appropriate reimbursement. The HHS said it will be closely monitoring for fraud and auditing carefully to ensure funds are appropriately distributed.