Arkansas hospital returns $8.8M in bailout funds received in error

Drew Memorial Hospital in Monticello, Ark., is returning federal grants meant to reimburse healthcare providers for expenses or lost revenues tied to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Democrat Gazette

Drew Memorial Hospital leaders said they were surprised to receive an $8.8 million deposit from HHS in May after receiving a $3.8 million payment in April. The first slice of funding came from the grants HHS sent to rural hospitals affected by the pandemic, but the second payment was an error. 

HHS allocated $12 billion to hospitals that treated large numbers of COVID-19 patients. The funding was distributed based on data hospitals submitted. Hospital officials were supposed to submit data on confirmed COVID-19 cases, but Drew Memorial officials also included probable cases in data submitted to HHS. The error put the 49-bed hospital over the threshold to receive a slice of the high-impact payments. 

Like other hospitals and health systems across the U.S., Drew Memorial faces financial damage from the pandemic. The hospital's losses totaled more than $1 million in both March and April. Hospital leaders told the Democrat Gazette they expect it will take several months for the hospital's finances to recover. 

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