$30B in hospital aid will be distributed this week, Verma says

The Trump administration will begin distributing the first $30 billion in funding for hospitals allocated in the most recent stimulus package this week, CMS Administrator Seema Verma said April 7 during a White House coronavirus task force briefing

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, provides more than $100 billion to hospitals and creates an emergency fund to reimburse healthcare providers for expenses or lost revenues related to COVID-19. The first $30 billion in grants will be distributed based on Medicare revenue, Ms. Verma said. 

Ms. Verma noted that the administration's top priority was getting the funding to hospitals as quickly as possible. She said children's hospitals, nursing homes, pediatricians and other healthcare providers that receive much of their revenue from Medicaid and other sources will be given priority when the second round of funding is distributed. 

Regarding this week's funding release, America's Essential Hospitals said the basis of the funding could disadvantage hospitals in greatest need. 

"An allocation methodology that consists only of Medicare fee-for-service revenue could tilt the playing field against some essential hospitals, which care for disproportionate numbers of uninsured and Medicaid patients," America's Essential Hospitals President and CEO Bruce Siegel, MD, said in a release. "It is especially concerning because their narrow margins and front-line role mean these hospitals are among those in greatest need of funding support during this public health emergency."

Dr. Siegel urged CMS to act quickly to release funding focused on Medicaid-dependent providers. 

On April 7, CMS also announced that it has approved nearly $34 billion in payments to hospitals and other healthcare providers in the past week through the expansion of the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program.

The accelerated payments are not part of the $100 billion emergency fund authorized in the CARES Act. The advance and accelerated payments are a loan that healthcare providers must pay back, while funding provided under the CARES Act does not need to be repaid. 

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