April 24, 2020
On March 27, 2020, the President signed the bipartisan CARES Act that provides $100 billion in relief funds to hospitals and other healthcare providers on the front lines of the coronavirus response. This funding will be used to support healthcare-related expenses or lost revenue attributable to COVID-19 and to ensure uninsured Americans can get testing and treatment for COVID-19.
HHS distributed an initial $30 billion on April 10, 2020. These are payments, not loans, to healthcare providers and will not need to be repaid. All facilities and providers that received Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) reimbursements in 2019 are eligible for this initial rapid distribution. Providers will be distributed a portion of the initial $30 billion based on their share of total Medicare FFS reimbursements in 2019. All relief payments will be made to the billing organization according to its Taxpayer Identification Number.
CARES ACT 1.0 funds were allocated as follows:
$50 Billion: General Allocation
Providers who receive funds from the general distribution have to sign an attestation confirming receipt of funds and agree to the terms and conditions of payment and confirm the CMS cost report. As a condition to receiving these funds, providers must agree not to seek collection of out-of-pocket payments from a presumptive or actual COVID-19 patient that are greater than what the patient would have otherwise been required to pay if the care had been provided by an in-network provider.
CARES ACT 2.0 funds are to be disbursed as follows:
$75 billion is allocated for reimbursement to hospitals and healthcare providers to support the need for COVID-19 related expenses and lost revenue. The language remains the same as CARES Act.
$25 billion is designated for necessary expenses to research, develop, validate, manufacture, purchase, administer, and expand capacity for COVID-19 tests.
Includes $6 million for HHS Office of Inspector General for oversight activities.
CARES ACT 2.0 also lists out a series of reporting requirements that HHS must follow, including a report on COVID-19 testing no later than 21 days after the enactment of this Act. No later than 30 days, the HHS Secretary shall provide a strategic testing plan to assist States, localities, territories, tribes, tribal organizations, and urban Indian health organizations, in understanding COVID-19 testing for both active infection and prior exposure. The plan shall address how to increase domestic testing capacity and outline Federal resources that are available to support the testing plans of each State, locality, territory, tribe, tribal organization, and urban Indian health organization.