|Administration Unveils Provider Relief Fund to Cover COVID-19 Costs for Uninsured|
President Trump announced late last week his intent on having his Administration cover uninsured patients’ COVID-19 treatment by directly reimbursing providers for their costs. “This should alleviate any concern uninsured Americans may have about seeking the coronavirus treatment,” Trump said during a news briefing. The Administration plans on using a portion of the $100 billion provider relief fund included in the CARES Act to make these payments, so long as hospitals certify that they will not saddle any of these patients with surprise medical bills (although the Administration did not specify how it would enforce this). The first $30 billion of the industry-bailout funds is expected to be delivered by HHS today, with assistance by UnitedHealth Group. The payments will be allotted based on providers’ share of 2019 Medicare fee-for-service reimbursements. 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.|
In addition to this, other federal agencies continue to release guidance and take action amidst the pandemic. Late last week the DOL issued new guidance on the unemployment provision of the CARES Act. The primary focus of the new guidance is on section 2104 of the CARES Act, which allows individuals who are otherwise entitled to receive regular unemployment compensation to receive an additional $600 flat payment through July 31, 2020.
CDC released guidance on how some critical workers can return to their jobs. Previously, any workers who had exposure to COVID-19 were advised to self-isolate. Under this new guidance, “critical infrastructure workers” who had exposure but remain asymptomatic can return to work as long as they follow the guidelines outlined in this new material.
HHS released guidance allowing pharmacists to test for COVID-19. Expanding testing for the COVID-19 in this way is “a critical component in our nation’s efforts to reduce the number of cases, ease burdens on our over-utilized hospitals and clinics, and protect the safety of our communities,” the Pharmacists for Healthier Lives coalition said in a press release.
FEMA’s “Project Air Bridge” expedited movement of critical supplies, in varying quantities, from the global market to medical distributors in various locations across the country. FEMA established Project Air Bridge on March 29 in order to ensure that providers in the U.S. receive medical equipment and other supplies as quickly as possible. FEMA covers the cost to fly supplies into the U.S. from overseas factories, reducing shipment time from weeks to days. As of April 7, 15 flights have landed, containing critical personal protective equipment such as gloves, gowns, goggles and masks. An additional 52 flights are scheduled over the next three weeks.
Be sure to check the Coronavirus Information Section of the NAHU website on a regular basis. We update it daily with any new resources or guidance released by the federal government.
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