Department of Health and Human Services to provide COVID-19 relief funds for rural healthcare

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CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is processing payments from the Provider Relief Fund to hospitals with large numbers of COVID-19 inpatient admissions through April 10, 2020.

HHS will also provide funds to rural providers in support of the national response to COVID-19, according to White House officials.

“These new payments are being distributed to healthcare providers who have been hardest hit by the virus: $12 billion to facilities admitting large numbers of COVID-19 patients and $10 billion to providers in rural areas, who are already working on narrow margins,” says HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “HHS has put these funds out as quickly as possible, after gathering data to ensure that they are going to the providers who need them the most. With another $75 billion recently appropriated by Congress, the Trump Administration will continue doing everything we can to support America’s heroic healthcare providers on the frontlines of this war on the virus.”

$10 billion in relief funding has been allocated for distribution for rural health care providers, according to the HHS. The recipients of these relief funds will include rural acute care general hospitals and critical access hospitals, rural health clinics, and community health centers located in rural areas.

Of these funds:

  • West Virginia is expected to receive $159,588,044 for 283 providers.
  • Ohio is expected to receive $368,963,066 for 216 providers.
  • Kentucky is expected to receive $372,344,760 for 542 providers.

According to White House officials, hospitals and rural health clinics will receive a minimum base payment plus a percentage of their annual expenses. This method accounts for operating costs and lost revenue incurred by rural hospitals for both inpatient and outpatient services.

The officials say the base payment will account for rural health clinics with no reported Medicare claims, such as pediatric rural health clinics, and community health centers lacking expense data, but ensuring all clinical, non-hospital sites receive a minimum of $100,000 with additional payments based on operating expenses.

Rural acute care general hospitals and critical access hospitals will receive a minimum of $1,000,000in support, with additional payment based on operating expenses.

Ohio is also expected to receive additional funding from the Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 High-Impact Allocation. This relief consists of $10 billion to be distributed between 395 hospitals nationwide who have provided inpatient care for 100 or more COVID-19 patients through April 10, 2020, and will distribute an additional $2 billion to these hospitals based on their Medicare and Medicaid disproportionate share and uncompensated care payments, the HHS says.

According to White House officials, these hospitals accounted for 71 percent of COVID-19 inpatient admissions reported to HHS from nearly 6,000 hospitals around the country.

According to the HHS, Ohio is currently expected to receive a total of $56,024,932 for four providers under the COVID-19 High Impact Allocation.

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