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HHS is releasing additional $10B to hospitals in COVID-19 hot spots

These funds are from the $175 billion relief package from Congress.

Mallory Hackett, Associate Editor

The Department of Health and Human Services through the Health Resources and Services Administration will next week start distributing an additional $10 billion in COVID-19 relief funds to hospitals in high impact areas.

At the beginning of June, HHS asked hospitals across the country to submit data on their COVID-19-positive inpatient admissions between January 1 and June 10. The data they sent in was used to determine eligibility and the amount allocated to each hospital.

To be eligible, hospitals had to have over 161 COVID-19 admissions or one admission per day during that time frame. They could have also been eligible if they had an average ratio of more COVID-19 admissions than beds.

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Based on the hospital data, payments will be made to over 1,000 hospitals and will equal $50,000 per eligible admission.

WHY THIS MATTERS

These funds are part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, which allocated $175 billion in relief funds to hospitals and other healthcare providers, including those disproportionately impacted by this pandemic.

The additional funds follow the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in parts of the country.

THE LARGER TREND

In May, HHS completed its first round of high impact funding. The department distributed $12 billion to 395 hospitals.

For that round, HHS distributed funds based on COVID-19 admissions between January 1 and April 10. To be eligible, hospitals needed to have over 100 COVID-19 admissions during that time period. HHS paid eligible hospitals $76,975 per admission.

ON THE RECORD

"The top priority for HHS's administration of the Provider Relief Fund has been getting support as quickly as possible to providers who have been hit hard by COVID-19," said HHS Secretary Alex Azar in a statement. "Because we've carefully targeted support, we can make payments to areas most in need as the pandemic evolves, like we are doing with this round of funds."

"The AHA thanks HHS for distributing additional CARES Act emergency relief funds to 'hot spot' hospitals and health systems on the frontlines in the fight against this pandemic," said Rick Pollack in a statement, the president and CEO of the American Hospital Association. "As we have urged, hospitals with high numbers of COVID-19 admissions need help immediately to help offset the significant costs incurred in treating COVID patients, along with managing financial losses due to lower patient visits for non-COVID care. However, since this distribution of funding for 'hot spots' does not take into account the latest spike in cases and hospitalizations in some parts of the country, we look forward to working with the Administration to ensure that additional relief will be distributed to 'hot spots' and all hospitals."

Twitter: @HackettMallory
Email the writer: mhackett@himss.org