For guidance on what the 2.2 trillion CARES Act in response to COVID-19 could mean for your healthcare organization, please click here.
As the 2.2 trillion stimulus bill in response to COVID-19 has been signed into law, healthcare organizations will likely need guidance on interpreting what the policy changes and appropriations mean for them. The largest economic rescue package in history, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes measures to address supply shortages; access to healthcare for COVID-19 patients; payment rate adjustments and increased care access; HHS extenders; and more.
Following is a brief overview of some of the provisions covered in the attached issue brief:
- Department of Health and Human Services Extenders: Fund appropriations to combat the further spread of COVID-19 and prevent/manage potential future pandemics:
- $100B to hospitals & healthcare providers to support COVID-19 related expenses and lost revenue
- $16B for procurement of personal protective equipment, ventilators, and other medical supplies for federal and state response efforts
- $11B for construction, manufacturing, and purchase of vaccines and therapeutic delivery to the American people
- $1.5B for state and local preparedness and response activities
- $945.5M for the NIH’s vaccine, therapeutic, and diagnostic research to increase understanding of COVID-19, including underlying risks to cardiovascular and pulmonary conditions
- $500M to continue CDC’s global health efforts
- $300M to give HHS flexibility to respond to pandemic threats
- $275M to expand services and capacity for rural hospitals, telehealth, poison control centers, and HIV/AIDS programs
- $200M, including $100 million to support additional infection control surveys for facilities with populations vulnerable to severe illness from coronavirus
- Medicare/Medicaid payment rate adjustments: Lifting of the 2% Medicare sequestration through the end of the year; providing hospitals treating COVID-19 patients with a 20% payment increase; extending funding for a number of Medicare and Medicaid programs until December 1, 2020; and delaying Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) reductions until December 1, 2020.
- COVID-19 patients’ access to care: Setting commercial insurance pricing for COVID-19 testing; eliminating cost-sharing for preventive services and vaccines; allotment of funds to community health centers to expand testing and treatment; expanded grant funding for eligible telehealth services; and allowing broader sharing of patient health records.
- Supply shortage mitigation: Expanding the strategic stockpile; prioritizing FDA reviews of drug applications; required reporting of supply interruptions by drug manufacturers.
- Healthcare workforce and telehealth: Waiving of previous restrictions related to deductibles, as well as in-person evaluation and monitoring requirements.
For more detailed information on what this stimulus package means for your healthcare organization, please click here to read the attached issue brief. Further, as an enactment of the CARES Act is only the first step, check this space for further guidance on protocols related to applying for and distributing CARES funds, as well as appropriate uses of appropriations.