On Friday, April 24th, President Trump signed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (“Act”) into law that will send an additional $75 billion to the Public Health Emergency and Social Services Fund (“Fund”) used to reimburse eligible health care providers for health care related expenses or lost revenues that are attributable to COVID-19. These funds will be in addition to the $100 billion previously appropriated to the Fund in the CARES Act. Of that $100 billion, the first $30 billion was distributed through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to health care providers proportionally, based on the providers’ share of total 2019 Medicare payments. HHS has outlined how the remaining $70 billion of the initial $100 billion Congress dedicated to the Fund in the CARES Act would be allocated to providers, with additional payments starting April 24th. However, HHS has not published any additional guidance as to how the Act’s additional $75 billion will be allocated.
The ACT also includes up to an additional $1billion allotted to the Fund for payment for COVID-19 testing for uninsured individuals, which could double the previously allotted $1 billion in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Earlier this month, HHS announced that a portion of the Fund would be made available to reimburse providers for any COVID-19 testing and treatment for uninsured individuals performed on or after February 4, 2020, subject to funds availability. The HRSA will begin accepting these claims in early May, and providers can begin registering as early as April 27th to submit claims. HHS has indicated that providers will be reimbursed for the COVID-19 testing and treatment at Medicare rates. More information about the HRSA application is available here.
In addition to the $75 billion, the ACT allots $25 billion for increasing testing capacity, monitoring and tracing cases of COVID-19, serology testing, and related activities, services and costs, such as manufacturing tests, workforce support, and PPE procurement. Of the $25 billion, $11 billion is allocated to states, localities, territories, tribes, and other related entities, and must be utilized to purchase, develop administer and process COVID-19 tests. Other amounts of this $25 billion are directed to federal agencies like the CDC and the FDA.
For more information on the Fund, please visit the HHS website.