New Distributions of Provider Relief Fund Money

On Tuesday morning the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it will distribute $10 billion to hospitals located in COVID-19 hotspots that have cared for especially large numbers of COVID-19 patients.  It also will distribute $25 billion in CARES Act Provider Relief Fund money to safety-net providers, including $10 billion specifically for safety-net hospitals.  (Some of the language in this memo is taken directly from HHS’s news release.)

Just last week, NASH wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar asking him to distribute additional CARES Act payments to private safety-net hospitals.

The $10 Billion Distribution to COVID-19 Hotspot Hospitals

On Monday HHS sent messages to all hospitals asking them to update information on their COVID-19 positive-inpatient admissions for the period January 1, 2020, through June 10, 2020.  This information will be used to determine a second round of funding to hospitals in COVID-19 hotspots and is due to HHS through its teletracking portal no later than 9:00 pm (eastern) on Monday, June 15.

The data reporting is similar to what hospitals previously submitted from the start of the pandemic to April 10.  The data to be reported will be cumulative, through June 10.  At this point, HHS has not decided what the threshold will be to receive payments; it will make this decision after it receives the data.

There is one major difference between the next distribution and the previous one:  this time, HHS wants data submitted, and will make distributions based on, individual facilities and not Medicare provider numbers or tax identification numbers.  HHS has updated its Provider Relief Fund web page to reflect today’s developments; find that page here.  HHS also has made extensive changes in the Provider Relief Fund’s FAQ to reflect the planned distribution of funds to COVID-19 hotspot hospitals; those changes are identified within the FAQ, which you can find here.

The $10 Billion Allocation for Safety-Net Hospitals

HHS will distribute $10 billion in Provider Relief Funds to safety-net hospitals that serve vulnerable patients in recognition of “the incredibly thin margins these hospitals operate on.”  This payment is being sent directly to these hospitals via direct deposit.

These payments will be made to hospitals that serve a disproportionate number of Medicaid patients or provide large amounts of uncompensated care.  Qualifying hospitals will have:

  • A Medicare disproportionate payment percentage of 20.2 percent or greater.
  • Average uncompensated care of $25,000 per bed or more.  For example, a hospital with 100 beds would need to provide $2.5 million in uncompensated care in a year to meet this requirement.
  • Profitability of three percent or less, as reported to CMS in its most recently filed cost report.

Recipients will receive a minimum distribution of $5 million and a maximum distribution of $50 million.

If your hospital meets the criteria for safety-net hospital payments you will receive them through direct deposit.  If you wish to receive hotspot payments, however, you must submit relevant data through HHS’s teletracking portal; the deadline for data submission is June 15 at 9:00 pm (eastern).

Coronavirus Update for Monday, June 6

Coronavirus update for Monday, June 8 as of 2:30 p.m.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

  • CMS has updated its “COVID-19 Emergency Declaration Blanket Waivers for Health Care Providers” document.  Added since the last version are a new section, on page 14, on altered time lines for Medicare’s Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Model, along with two modifications:  one on page 10, addressing site-neutral payments for long-term care hospitals, and another on page 13, in support of care for patients in long-term care hospital patients.

CMS – Stakeholder Engagement Calls

CMS hosts recurring stakeholder engagement sessions to share information related to the agency’s response to COVID-19.  These sessions are open to members of the health care community and are intended to provide updates, share best practices among peers, and offer attendees an opportunity to ask questions of CMS and other subject matter experts.  Conference lines are limited so CMS encourages interested parties to join via audio webcast.

Calls recordings and transcripts are posted on the CMS podcast page here.

COVID-19 Office Hours Call

Office Hour Calls provide an opportunity for hospitals, health systems, and providers to ask questions of agency officials regarding CMS’s temporary actions that empower local hospitals and health care systems to increase hospital capacity, expand their workforce, and make greater use of telehealth.

Tuesday, June 9 at 5:00 (eastern)

Toll Free Attendee Dial In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 4892554

Audio Webcast link:  Go here.

COVID Home Health and Hospice Call

Tuesday, June 9 at 3:00 – 3:30 PM (eastern)

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 7359947

Audio Webcast Link:  Go here.

COVID Nursing Homes Call

Wednesday, June 10 at 4:30 (eastern)

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 9782909

Audio Webcast Link:  Go here.

COVID Dialysis Organizations Call

Wednesday, June 10 at 5:30 (eastern)

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 6553907

Audio Webcast Link:  Go here.

COVID Nurses Call

Thursday, June 11 at 3:00 (eastern)

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 2863547

Audio Webcast Link: Go here.

Food and Drug Administration

National Institutes of Health

Congressional Research Service

Federal Funding Opportunities for Hospitals

  • NASH has prepared a document that collects and presents in one place the various new federal funding opportunities for hospital resulting from legislation addressing the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Find that document here.

(To receive this daily update directly, sign up for our mailing list at info@safetynetalliance.org.)

Coronavirus Update for Friday, June 5

Coronavirus update for Friday, June 5 as of 2:30 p.m.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

  • In the past week CMS issued six section 1135 waivers to give states greater flexibility to serve their Medicaid beneficiaries during the COVID-19 public health emergency.  It issued waivers to Alaska (two waivers), Arizona, Mississippi, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Food and Drug Administration

Federal Funding Opportunities for Hospitals

  • NASH has prepared a document that collects and presents in one place the various new federal funding opportunities for hospital resulting from legislation addressing the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Find that document here.

(To receive this daily update directly, sign up for our mailing list at info@safetynetalliance.org.)

Coronavirus Update for Thursday, June 4, 2020

Coronavirus update for Thursday, June 4 as of 2:30 p.m.

NASH Advocacy

Today NASH sent a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CMS Administrator Seema Verma expressing safety-net hospitals’ disappointment that HHS still has not made a targeted distribution of CARES Act Provider Relief Funds to providers of especially high volumes of care to Medicaid and government-insured patients and urging them to do so as soon as possible.  See NASH’s letter here.

 

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Department of Health and Human Services

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Food and Drug Administration

  • The FDA has introduced a new web-based resource, Testing Supply Substitution Strategies, that includes detailed information to help support labs performing authorized COVID-19 tests.
  • The FDA has updated the question-and-answer appendix in its guidance Conduct of Clinical Trials of Medical Products during COVID-19 Public Health Emergency with new information about compliance for electronic systems used to generate electronic signatures on clinical trial records.
  • The FDA has issued an alert to providers about the temporary absence of the “paralyzing agent” warning statement on the vial caps of the neuromuscular blocking agents vecuronium bromide and rocuronium bromide, both of which are often used for patients requiring medical ventilation.
  • The FDA has issued emergency use authorizations (EUAs) for five new commercial diagnostic tests for COVID-19. Find them here, here, here, here, and here.
  • Federal Funding Opportunities for Hospitals

    • NASH has prepared a document that collects and presents in one place the various new federal funding opportunities for hospital resulting from legislation addressing the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Find that document here.

    (To receive this daily update directly, sign up for our mailing list at info@safetynetalliance.org.)

Coronavirus Update for June 3

Coronavirus update for Wednesday, June 3 as of 12:00 p.m.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

  • HHS has updated its CARES Act Provider Relief Fund FAQ.  See additions on pages 5, 14, and 20.  Providers should review these additions carefully.
  • HHS announced that the next deadline for submitting data to inform the agency’s distribution of its supply of remdesivir is Monday, June 8 at 8 p.m. (eastern).  HHS is requesting the same data as last month’s remdesivir request:  the number of currently hospitalized COVID-19 patients, and of those hospitalized, the number requiring placement in ICUs.  Hospitals should submit the data using the HHS TeleTracking web portal. ​
  • HHS has provided $250 million to help health care systems treating patients and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.  According to an HHS news release, the money will support hospitals and other health care entities to train workers, expand telemedicine and the use of virtual health care, procure supplies and equipment, and coordinate across jurisdictions and facilities.  Most of this money is going to state hospital associations for distribution.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Food and Drug Administration

Department of Labor

The Department of Labor has issued an alert with information about how to keep stockroom and loading dock workers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.  See an announcement about the alert and the alert itself.

Federal Funding Opportunities for Hospitals

  • NASH has prepared a document that collects and presents in one place the various new federal funding opportunities for hospital resulting from legislation addressing the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Find that document here.

(To receive this daily update directly, sign up for our mailing list at info@safetynetalliance.org.)

NASH Calls for More COVID-19 Legislation

On Tuesday the National Alliance of Safety-Net Hospitals wrote to Senate leaders and asked them to advance legislation with five major COVID-19-related policy initiatives that private safety-net hospitals seek:

  1. An additional $100 billion for hospitals.
  2. A 14-point increase in the federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP).
  3. A 2.5 percent increase in states’ Medicaid disproportionate share (Medicaid DSH) allotments and another delay in implementation of Affordable Care Act-mandated cuts in those allotments.
  4. Reduced interest rates and a longer payback period for Medicare payments advanced to hospitals through the CARES Act’s Accelerated and Advance Payment Program.
  5. Prevention of implementation of the Medicare fiscal accountability regulation (MFAR).

Learn more from NASH’s letter to Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer.

Coronavirus Update for Tuesday, June 2

Coronavirus update for Tuesday, June 2, 2020 as of 2:45 p.m.

NASH Advocacy

On Tuesday, the National Alliance of Safety-Net Hospitals wrote to Senate leaders and asked them to advance legislation with five major COVID-19-related policy initiatives:

  1. An additional $100 billion for hospitals.
  2. A 14-point increase in the federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP).
  3. A 2.5 percent increase in states’ Medicaid disproportionate share (Medicaid DSH) allotments and another delay in implementation of Affordable Care Act-mandated cuts in those allotments.
  4. Reduced interest rates and a longer payback period for Medicare payments advanced to hospitals through the CARES Act’s Accelerated and Advance Payment Program.
  5. Prevention of implementation of the Medicare fiscal accountability regulation (MFAR).

Learn more from NASH’s letter to Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer.

On Monday NASH submitted formal comments to CMS on an interim final rule published in April to help health care providers respond to the COVID-19 emergency.  NASH expressed support for the changes CMS introduced.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Food and Drug Administration

The Joint Commission

Federal Funding Opportunities for Hospitals

  • NASH has prepared a document that collects and presents in one place the various new federal funding opportunities for hospital resulting from legislation addressing the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Find that document here.

(To receive this daily update directly, sign up for our mailing list at info@safetynetalliance.org.)

Coronavirus Update for Monday, June 1

Coronavirus update for Monday, June 1 as of 3:00 pm.

Department of Health and Human Services

  • HHS has added to and modified its CARES Act Provider Relief Fund FAQ.  Find additions on pages 2, 4, 5, 8, 23, 24, and 25 and modifications on pages 8, 9, and 19.  The latest changes are identified as added or modified on 5/26 or 5/29.  Providers should review these changes carefully.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services – Stakeholder Calls

CMS hosts recurring stakeholder engagement sessions to share information related to the agency’s response to COVID-19.  These sessions are open to members of the health care community and are intended to provide updates, share best practices among peers, and offer attendees an opportunity to ask questions of CMS and other subject matter experts.  Call details are below.  Conference lines are limited so CMS encourages interested parties to join via audio webcast.  Calls recordings and transcripts also are posted on the CMS podcast page here.

CMS COVID-19 Office Hours Calls (Tuesdays at 5:00 – 6:00 PM eastern)

Office Hour Calls provide an opportunity for hospitals, health systems, and providers to ask questions of agency officials regarding CMS’s temporary actions that empower local hospitals and healthcare systems to increase hospital capacity, expand their health care workforce, and promote greater use of telehealth in Medicare.

Toll Free Attendee Dial In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 4474407

Audio Webcast link:  go here.

Lessons from the Front Lines: COVID-19 (Fridays at 12:30 – 2:00 PM eastern)

Lessons from the Front Lines calls are a joint effort between CMS Administrator Seema Verma, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, MD, and the White House Coronavirus Task Force.  Physicians and other clinicians are invited to share their experience, ideas, strategies, and insights with one another related to their COVID-19 response. There is an opportunity to ask questions of presenters.

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 833-614-0820; Access Code: 6583696

Web Link:  go here.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Food and Drug Administration

  • The FDA is making its previously developed FDA MyStudies app available to investigators as a free platform to securely obtain patients’ informed consent for eligible clinical trials when face-to-face contact is not possible or practical due to COVID-19 control measures. FDA MyStudies is now referred to as COVID MyStudies in the Apple App store and in the Google Play store.
  • The FDA has approved emergency use authorization for a new commercial home diagnostic test for COVID-19.
  • The FDA has approved emergency use authorizations for three new commercial laboratory serology tests for COVID-19. Find those authorizations here, here, and here.

Federal Funding Opportunities for Hospitals

  • NASH has prepared a document that collects and presents in one place the various new federal funding opportunities for hospital resulting from legislation addressing the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Find that document here.

(To receive this daily update directly, sign up for our mailing list at info@safetynetalliance.org.)

Coronavirus Update for May 29, 2020

Coronavirus update for Friday, May 29 as of 2:30 p.m.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

  • In the past week CMS issued five section 1135 waivers to give states greater flexibility to serve their Medicaid beneficiaries during the COVID-19 public health emergency.  It issued waivers to Alaska, Maine, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Vermont.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Federal Funding Opportunities for Hospitals

  • NASH has prepared a document that collects and presents in one place the various new federal funding opportunities for hospital resulting from legislation addressing the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Find that document here.

(To receive this daily update directly, sign up for our mailing list at info@safetynetalliance.org.)

Coronavirus Update: May 28, 2020

Coronavirus update for Thursday, May 28 as of 2:30 p.m.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

  • CMS has updated its COVID-19 FAQs on Medicare fee-for-service billing with additional or revised answers to the following sections:
    • Expansion of Virtual Communication Services for FQHCs/RHCs – questions 11-23
    • Medicare Telehealth (please note that these FAQs do not include flexibilities that might be exercised under the CARES act) – questions 23-33
    • General Billing Requirements – questions 2 and 3
    • Diagnosis Coding under International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-10-CM) – question 1
    • Chronic Care Management Services – question 1
    • Outpatient Therapy Services – questions 1-3

Department of Health and Human Services

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Food and Drug Administration

Federal Funding Opportunities for Hospitals

  • NASH has prepared a document that collects and presents in one place the various new federal funding opportunities for hospital resulting from legislation addressing the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Find that document here.

(To receive this daily update directly, sign up for our mailing list at info@safetynetalliance.org.)