According to a report in "The Hill," the print and online news service that covers Congress, emergency COVID-19 funds for Medicaid providers, authorized by Congress in March, are finally being released by the Department of Health and Human Services.
"HHS had come under fire for its slow pace in sending out billions of dollars in coronavirus relief funds to providers in the safety net program, even as clinics and hospitals cut back services, lay off staff or shut down altogether," the report stated.
We asked NAHC president Bill Dombi whether some of the $25 billion released this week would reach Medicaid home health and home care providers.
"Medicaid-only providers should get 2% of their revenues, like other Medicaid-only providers. If a home care company got money through the initial two General Distributions they would not be eligible for this one. Essentially, a Medicare provider that also does Medicaid would have already received at least 2% of overall revenues in the other distributions.
"There is still money to be distributed. We have asked for a 'High Impact' home care provider distribution like was done for hospitals. It would target home care providers that serve a large number of COVID-19 patients. We have also asked for a distribution to private pay home care."
According to an HHS Tuesday announcement, $15 billion would go to providers in state Medicaid and Childrens Health Insurance Program and another $10 billion will go to safety-net hospitals that serve high volumes of Medicaid patients.
"Healthcare providers who focus on treating the most vulnerable Americans, including low-income and minority patients, are absolutely essential to our fight against COVID-19," HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement.
While Congress appropriated funding more than two months ago to help health care providers weather the COVID-19 crisis, little of that assistance has gone to those who serve low-income patients, children, and people with disabilities.1 Congress members from both sides of the aisle wrote HHS last week urging it to distribute emergency COVID-19 funding to Medicaid providers as soon as possible, noting their "serious concerns" with the delay.2
The delay "could result in long-term financial hardship for providers who service some of our most vulnerable populations," according to a letter from Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the committee's top Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden (OR), House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), and Rep. Greg Walden (OR), that panel's top Republican.
1 Jessie Hellmann, "The Hill," 5/27/20 - Medicaid providers increasingly frustrated by delays in COVID-19 funding
2 Jessie Hellmann, "The Hill," 6/3/20 - Bipartisan lawmakers press Trump administration to get COVID-19 aid to Medicaid providers
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