HHS distributes $7.5B in pandemic aid to providers

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HHS began distributing $7.5 billion in payments to rural healthcare providers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency announced Nov. 23. 

The $7.5 billion in American Rescue Plan payments are going to more than 40,000 providers that serve rural Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Program and Medicare beneficiaries. 

The payments are going to providers in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and six U.S. territories. The average payment is about $170,700, with payments ranging from $500 to $43 million, HHS said. 

"Health care providers in rural communities have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and they continue to experience significant financial hardships," HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a news release. "The infusion of these funds will be critical to ensuring rural communities maintain access to high-quality health care and addressing urgent needs like workforce recruitment and retention."

The payments are based on Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP claims for services to patients in rural areas from Jan. 1, 2019, through Sept. 30, 2020. 

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