COVID-19 Stimulus Information
What healthcare organizations need to know
Updated July 21, 2020
Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States, the government has released multiple aid packages to help our struggling economy, with more planned. They contain distributions for healthcare systems and physician groups, but the details seem to change daily. Sorting through everything is difficult when you’re focused on delivering care.
Ingenious Med is monitoring the news and gathering what’s relevant for health organizations in one place for quick reference. We’ll continue updating this page as more information on becomes available. Be sure to check in regularly for the latest Covid-19 stimulus news. For any questions about how to optimize your revenue in these uncertain times, please contact your Ingenious Med account manager or use our contact form.
Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act
- Overall $175 billion grant for hospitals, post-acute, health centers and ambulatory surgical centers providing diagnoses, testing, or care for individuals with possible or actual cases of COVID-19.
- First $30 billion announced as a percentage of Medicare payments beginning April 10; initially included any practice or facility directly treating COVID-19 patients, then expanded to those whose patients may have been in contact with or who contracted the virus. (HHS now considers “…every patient as a possible case of COVID-19.”)
- Another $30 billion announced April 15; distribution began April 28 in two parts:
- $18 billion based on a hospital’s total revenue, not just Medicare payments
- $12 billion to the hardest-hit hospitals based on admissions with positive COVID-19 diagnosis
- 395 hospitals who provided inpatient care for 100 or more COVID-19 patients began receiving payments on May 1
- $10 billion set aside for rural health clinics and hospitals
- Payments began May 1; hospitals and rural health centers receive a minimum base payment and additional payment based on annual expenses
- Additional $1 billion announced July 10 for rural hospitals and some suburban hospitals that serve rural populations
- $4.9 Billion distribution to Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) announced on May 22
- All SNFs will receive a $50,000 fixed distribution; a variable distribution will also be made for facilities with at least 6 beds ($2,500 per bed)
- New FAQs concerning this distribution were released on June 2
- $35 billion in funds earmarked on June 8 for Medicaid, safety net hospitals and hotspots
- $15 billion to state Medicaid and CHIP participants who haven’t received relief funds yet
- $12.8 billion to safety net hospitals; qualification criteria is outlined in the HHS announcement
- Expanded definition and distribution announced July 10
- $10 billion as a second round of funding to hospitals in designated hotspots
- $25 billion in assorted payments in progress:
- HHS providing $250 million to healthcare systems for training and direct COVID-19 response
- $400 million will be allocated for Indian Health Service facilities
- $15 million allocated to rural tribal communities to combat emerging hotspots
- $5 million for Poison Control Center
- Some is for reimbursing providers for treating the uninsured; signups began April 27.
- Kaiser Family Foundation estimates amount could be up to $41.8 billion
- HHS announced on May 7 that the deadline for accepting terms and conditions of stimulus payments has been extended from 30 days to 45 days.
- As of June 24th, $72 billion (41 percent) of the approved funds are awaiting distribution by HHS.
Payroll Protection Program & HealthCare Enhancement (PPP&HCE) Act
- Signed into law April 24; primarily adds funding to Payroll Protection Program
- $75 billion earmarked for medical providers; distribution details are still pending
- As of July, healthcare organizations have received over 12 percent of Paycheck Protection Program loans greater than $150,000. The biggest recipients in the healthcare sector were physicians’ offices.
Small Business Loans: Physician Groups Must Act Quickly
- The CARES Act funded $349 billion for fast, no-interest, forgivable loans for small businesses to cover payrolls, but the funds were depleted quickly and many small businesses could not apply in time.
- Further, some multi-location physician groups with fewer than 500 employees could not apply, yet larger corporations received loans.
- The PPP&HCE Act adds another $310 billion to the fund, $60 billion of which is specifically for the Small Business Administration’s economic disaster fund.
- Multi-location physician groups must be prepared to apply as quickly as possible for the best chance of approval.
Extended COVID-19 Telehealth Coverage
- CMS has added 85 telehealth services covered by Medicare. Telehealth encounter billing rates should be the same rate as in-person visits, but reimbursements from insurance companies are not consistent.
- The American Medical Association (AMA) has published guidelines for optimizing telehealth reimbursement.
- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has grants to health systems for telehealth programs.
Several ancillary measures can assist medical providers with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis:
- Retrofitting new ICUs
- Increasing staffing or training
- Purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Building temporary structures
- Restoring revenue from cancelled elective procedures
As of April 26, CMS has suspended its Advanced Payment Program.
Early details of the $3T HEROES Act include hazard pay for nurses and supply chain support for PPE production. The legislation is currently working its way through Congress.