COVID-19: Additional $25 Billion CARES Act Fund Allocation & CMS Re-opening Guidelines

Jun 22, 2020

HHS announces additional distributions from the CARES Act Provider Relief and CMS issues recommendations for re-opening facilities to provide non-emergent, non-COVID-19 services.

By Joseph Zebrowitz, MD

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued separate announcements last week that I think will interest you. 

HHS Updates

HHS announced two additional distributions from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Provider Relief Fund. HHS will distribute:

  • $15 billion to clinicians that participate in state Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) programs and have not received a payment from the Provider Relief Fund General Allocation. To receive these additional payments, providers should submit their annual gross revenues from patient care for CY 2017, 2018, or 2019 by July 20, 2020.HHS is making two webinars available to clinicians to learn more about the application process. To join the webinar, visit the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund page and register for one of the dates. HHS has made the Terms and Conditions for this distribution accessible here
  • $10 billion in Provider Relief Funds to safety-net hospitals this week via direct deposit. To qualify, hospitals need to meet the following criteria: a Medicare Disproportionate Payment Percentage of 20.2 percent or greater; an average Uncompensated Care per bed of $25,000 or more; and profitability of 3 percent or less as reported to CMS in its most recently filed Cost Report. Recipients will receive a minimum distribution of $5 million and a maximum distribution of $50 million. Distribution Terms and Conditions can be accessed here.
    HHS has sent communication directly to your hospital asking your organization to update information on COVID-19 positive-inpatient admissions from January 1, 2020, through June 10, 2020. This information will be used to determine the second round of $10 billion in funding to hospitals in COVID-19 hotspots. To determine eligibility, hospitals must submit their information by June 15, 2020 by 9:00 PM ET.

HHS has updated the Frequently Asked Questions regarding the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund. Some of the updated questions include:
  • How can I return a payment I received under the Provider Relief Fund?
  • What if I attested and accepted a Provider Relief Fund payment, but would now like to reject the funds and retract my attestation?
  • If I changed my mind after I rejected a Provider Relief Fund Targeted Distribution payment through the Attestation Portal and returned the payment, can I receive a new payment?
  • Can providers who have ceased operation due to the COVID-19 pandemic still receive this funding?
The full list of FAQs and details are included here.

CMS Updates


Also, CMS issued a guide with Recommendations for Re-opening Facilities to Provide Non-emergent Non-COVID-19 Healthcare. In this document, CMS outlines the criteria for re-opening including Level 2 gating criteria, facility considerations regarding securing testing for SARS COV-2, PPE, and sanitation protocols. These recommendations follow the original guidance CMS issued on April 19, 2020.

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