More than $4 billion in additional relief is going to providers, including those serving vulnerable and rural populations. Last week's announcement from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the latest round of relief funding for providers from the $175 billion Congress appropriated to the Provider Relief Fund.
On Friday, in response to the administration's release of states' COVID-19 testing plans, E&C Republicans released a statement commending HHS for their transparency. "We are pleased by HHS's ongoing efforts to be transparent with information about their COVID-19 response. From releasing these testing plans to sharing a detailed accounting of Provider Relief Fund disbursements, it's important Congress and the American people can easily access this information and data," said Walden, Burgess and Guthrie at the time.
Almost $3 billion of this new round of relief is going to safety net hospitals. Last month, E&C Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR), Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Senate Finance Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-IA) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) shared their concern on delays of relief for Medicaid-dependent providers, and urged HHS to quickly provide that funding. The following week HHS announced roughly $25 billion for providers serving vulnerable populations, breaking down to about $15 billion for Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) providers and $10 billion for safety net hospitals.
The bipartisan, bicameral leaders responded by commending HHS for sending the relief and added, "HHS should build on this announcement with additional funds for providers that rely on, but do not exclusively care for, Medicaid beneficiaries, ensuring that our most vulnerable can continue to access care."
Friday's announcement for safety net hospitals does just that. The administration has provided a total of $12.8 billion so far to more than 950 health care facilities serving our nation's most vulnerable patients.
More than $1 billion is going to providers with " special rural Medicare designation hospitals in urban areas " and " others who provide care in smaller non-rural communities." Although providers may not be located in a rural area, some still provide health care for rural populations. Funding for rural hospitals was requested by Walden and Subcommittee on Health Republican Leader Dr. Michael Burgess (R-TX) in April, and HHS announced $10 billion for rural providers in May.
HHS also announced that dentists may also apply for relief from the Provider Relief Fund through the Enhanced Provider Relief Fund Payment Portal. As we continue to work together to defeat COVID-19, we are pleased by the Trump administration's ongoing commitment to distributing the critical relief that has been provided by Congress.