Senate passes $2 trillion COVID-19 relief plan: Here's what's in it for hospitals

The Senate passed a $2 trillion COVID-19 relief package Wednesday night — the largest economic stimulus bill in U.S. history — in a unanimous 96-0 vote. 

The 880-page legislation, which now heads to the House, provides funding for hospitals, emergency loans for small businesses, enhanced unemployment insurance and financial assistance to Americans through direct checks to households. 

Here are six key provisions for hospital leaders to know: 

1. The stimulus bill would provide roughly $117 billion for hospitals, according to an estimate from the American Hospital Association. 

2. The legislation creates a $100 billion emergency fund to reimburse healthcare providers for expenses or lost revenues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible providers are defined as public entities, Medicare or Medicaid enrolled suppliers and providers, and other for-profit and nonprofit organizations as specified by HHS. 

3. The bill would provide a 20 percent add-on payment to the diagnosis related group rate for patients with COVID-19. The Medicare add-on payment would apply to patients treated at hospitals reimbursed through the inpatient prospective payment system. 

4. The stimulus package would eliminate $8 billion in Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital payment cuts. In fiscal year 2020, $4 billion in Medicaid DSH payment reductions would be eliminated. For fiscal 2021, the payment cut would be reduced to $4 billion from $8 billion, and implementation of the cuts would be delayed until Dec. 1, 2020, according to the AHA. 

5. The legislation temporarily removes the Medicare sequester from May 1 through Dec. 31, 2020. 

6. The AHA said it supports the legislation, calling it "an important first step." The AHA, American Medical Association and American Nurses Association had previously requested $100 billion in funding to address the outbreak. 

More articles on healthcare finance:
Hospitals face financial fallout from COVID-19: 6 things to know
Mercyhealth furloughs employees not involved in direct patient care
Pennsylvania hospital needs $40M or it will close April 1

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