Children's hospitals say they are being left out of COVID-19 relief funding

Children's hospitals across the U.S. say that they are being left out of another round of COVID-19 relief aid, according to Bloomberg Law

HHS in early June said it would allocate $15 billion of the relief funding to hospitals that provide care for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program that have yet to receive funding. It also gave $10 billion to safety-net providers.

However, children's hospitals say that although they serve a high portion of Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries, they don't qualify for the $15 billion in relief aid because they accepted a smaller amount of funding in April based on Medicare claims. They also do not qualify for the $10 billion for safety-net providers because of the conditions outlined by HHS.

Mark Wietecha, president and CEO of the Children's Hospital Association, said that accepting those earlier funds based on Medicare claims stops children's hospitals from receiving what would have been a much larger amount because about half of children's hospital patients are on Medicaid. In contrast, most children's hospitals have a minimal amount of Medicare claims.

Mr. Wietecha told Bloomberg Law that the nation's 30 standalone children's hospitals have received about 0.5 percent of the provider relief funds so far, which is less than $1 billion. The children's hospitals make up about 2.6 percent of the nation's hospital revenue. 

"These are the most important children's hospitals in the country, providing almost all of the complex care for kids, and about half of their patients are on Medicaid," Mr. Wietecha told Bloomberg Law. "And they've been almost entirely overlooked in the relief fund distributions so far."

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