stethoscope over money

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act represents perhaps the biggest piece of relief legislation since the cumulative programs comprising the New Deal. Despite the broadly addressed industries within the bill, the healthcare sector saw significant help in numerous provisions, with hundreds of billions set aside to benefit healthcare providers.

While these provisions are plentiful, we’re going to focus on a select few segments of CARES. These focus on funding for hospitals and other health care providers, funding for rural providers and Ryan White HIV/AIDS programs, and supplemental funding and grants for healthcare providers. (The entirety of healthcare provisions included in the CARES Act can be found here.)

Funding for Hospitals and Other Health Care Providers

First, the bill provides $100 billion in reimbursement funding for eligible healthcare providers, covering care-related expenses or lost revenues directly attributable to COVID-19. These funds are available to public entities, Medicare- or Medicaid-enrolled suppliers and providers, and other for-profit and non-profit entities as specified by the Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary.

The CARES Act also mandates $27 billion (to remain available through fiscal year 2024) to fund activities related to fighting COVID-19. These activities include the development of vaccines, telehealth programs and preparedness and response activities, as well as the purchasing of vaccines, diagnostics and medical surge capacity.

Of this $27 billion, $250 million is earmarked for entities that are part of the Hospital Preparedness Program. In addition, $16 billion must be used to purchase products for the Strategic National Stockpile.

Funding for Rural Providers and Ryan White HIV/AIDS Programs

$275 million will remain available until Sept. 30, 2022, for services administered under the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Of these apportioned funds, $185 million will go toward supporting rural critical access hospitals, rural tribal health and telehealth programs, and poison control centers. $90 million is also appropriated for Ryan White HIV/AIDS programs.

Supplemental Funding and Grants for Healthcare Providers

The CARES Act provides $1.32 billion in supplemental funding to community health centers (CHCs). It also reauthorizes Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant programs that promote the use of telehealth technology to strengthen rural healthcare. Grants can be applied for here.

Applications justifying the need for funds should be submitted to HHS once criteria on how to allocate the funds has been established. Funds will be available “for building or construction of temporary structures, leasing of properties, medical supplies and equipment including personal protective equipment and testing supplies, increased workforce and trainings, emergency operation centers, retrofitting facilities, and surge capacity.”

Have questions about guidance?

As stipulations from the CARES Act go into effect, questions about different aspects of the legislation are sure to develop. James Moore continues to compile information and resources, as well as government guidance and clarification. For more information, please contact us today.

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