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$100 Billion earmarked for uninsured care of COVID-19 patients

Apr 3, 2020

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) includes $100 billion for Medicare and Medicaid-enrolled suppliers/providers that provide diagnosis, testing or care for individuals with possible/actual cases of COVID-19.

According to the CARES Act, funds can be used for expenses such as 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.  The details and enrollment criteria for the grants were left to be defined at a later date. 

During the President’s April 3 news briefing, it was announced that a portion of the $100 billion grant fund would be used to reimburse hospitals for the cost of caring for uninsured patients with the COVID-19 virus.  Providers will be paid for uninsured patients on a retrospective basis at Medicare reimbursement rates. 

Many hospitals and other providers were hoping prospective relief through the ability to access grant funds immediately to take actions to prepare for COVID-19 patients or offset the hardship of canceled elective procedures to preserve precious personal protective equipment for frontline providers. 

As part of the act, $50 million has been allocated for state hospital associations “to support the urgent preparedness and response needs of hospitals, health systems, and physicians and nurses on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak” and $3 million has been allocated for surveillance and mitigation by American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) tribal public health organizations. 

No details were provided on how much of the $100 billion grant fund are earmarked for payment for uninsured COVID-19 care or when the eligibility criteria for the remaining funds in the grant pool will be released. Providers are, understandably, anxious for such details.

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