Budget Blog

July 23, 2020 - Health Care Issues Update

By Stacey Mazer posted 07-23-2020 04:37 PM


HHS Announces New Resources for Nursing Homes

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will devote $5 billion of the Provider Relief Fund in the CARES Act to Medicare-certified long term care facilities and state veterans’ homes to build nursing home skills and enhance nursing homes’ response to COVID-19, including enhanced infection control. This funding could be used for hiring additional staff, increasing testing, and providing additional services, such as technology so residents can connect with their families if they are not able to visit.


HHS Announces Provider Relief Fund Distribution/Medicaid Application Extension

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it will begin distributing $10 billion in a second round of high impact COVID-19 area funding to hospitals. On June 8 the department announced the plan for a second distribution and requested data from hospitals in high impact areas with the submissions used to determine eligibility and share of second round funding. Payments will provide relief to more than 1,000 hospitals across the country. A state-by-state allocation breakdown can be found here. Further, HHS announced the application period for the $15 billion Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provider distribution has been extended to August 3.


State Approaches to Contact Tracing During the Pandemic

The National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) has updated and expanded how each state is expanding its contact tracing capacity to curb the COVID-19 pandemic. The map includes updated descriptions of state contact tracing models, workforce training and recruitment, technology, funding sources, and new information about state tracing processes. NASHP will update this resource as programs evolve.


Fiscal Relief from Enhanced FMAP

This issue brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation examines how much fiscal relief states can expect from the increase in the FMAP under Families First Coronavirus Response Act under different assumptions about the duration of the relief. The brief also covers how the FMAP increase provides broad fiscal relief to states and the factors that affect how much relief is available across states.


The Effect of COVID-19 on Hospital Finances

An analysis prepared by the firm Kaufman Hall for the American Hospital Association highlights COVID-19’s impact on hospitals’ and health systems’ financial health. According to the report, without further government support, hospitals’ margins could sink to –7 percent in the second half of 2020, with half of all hospitals operating in the red. Kaufman Hall currently provides consulting services and software to 80 of the 100 largest health systems in the US.


HHS Releases FAQs on Data Reporting Changes

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) relating to COVID-19 reporting requirements for hospitals. On July 15, HHS changed the COVID-19 reporting procedures for hospitals to streamline data, using the existing TeleTracking system instead of the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network. These FAQs address questions around the new requirements and includes links to public data dashboards.