During the White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing, on April 7, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma announced distribution of $30 billion of the $100 billion Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (PHSSEF). On April 10, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) began the delivery of the initial $30 billion in relief funding to providers in support of the national response to COVID-19 as part of the distribution of the $100 billion provider relief fund provided for in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This was recently passed by Congress and signed by President Trump.
The $100 billion of funding will be used to support healthcare-related expenses or lost revenue attributable to coronavirus and to ensure uninsured Americans can get the testing and treatment they need without receiving a surprise bill from a provider. The initial $30 billion in immediate relief funds will begin being delivered to providers today.
Recognizing the importance of delivering the provider relief funds in a fast, fair, and transparent manner, this initial broad-based distribution of the relief funds will go to hospitals and providers across the United States that are enrolled in Medicare. Facilities and providers are allotted a portion of the $30 billion based on their share of 2019 Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) reimbursements. These are payments, not loans, to healthcare providers, and will not need to be repaid.
HHS and the Administration are working rapidly on additional targeted distributions to providers that will focus on providers in areas particularly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, rural providers, and providers of services with lower shares of Medicare FFS reimbursement or who predominantly serve the Medicaid population. This supplemental funding will also be used to reimburse providers for COVID-19 care for uninsured Americans.
HHS is partnering with UnitedHealth Group (UHG) to deliver the initial $30 billion distribution to providers as quickly as possible. Providers will be paid via Automated Clearing House account information on file with UHG, United Healthcare, or Optum Bank, or used for reimbursements from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Providers who normally receive a paper check for reimbursement from CMS will receive a paper check in the mail for this payment as well, within the next few weeks.
Within 30 days of receiving the payment, providers must sign an attestation confirming receipt of the funds and agreeing to the terms and conditions of payment. The portal for signing the attestation will be open the week of April 13, 2020 and will be available here.