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Latest Top (4) News


HHS Awards $15 Million to Combat the COVID-19 Pandemic in Rural Tribal Communities

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded $15 million to 52 Tribes, Tribal organizations, urban Indian health organizations, and other health services providers to Tribes across 20 states to prepare, prevent, and respond to COVID-19 in rural tribal communities.

“President Trump stands with Tribal nations across the country as they grapple with COVID-19 in rural communities,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “Today’s funding gives Tribes critical support to build up their capacity for fighting COVID-19, boost testing capabilities, increase purchases of PPE, and hire and pay the personnel they need.”

These awards are funded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that President Trump signed into law on Friday, March 27, 2020. HRSA made awards to Federally Recognized Tribes and other tribal organizations based on their needs and capacity to implement COVID-19 related activities in their rural communities. Tribes could request up to $300K in funding for these activities through the Rural Tribal COVID-19 Response (RTCR) program.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has hit many Tribal communities, particularly in rural areas, very hard,” said HRSA Administrator Tom Engels. “By directing new resources to these areas we are hoping to make a difference that will result in fewer new infections of this pernicious virus.”

The RTCR program funding allows Tribes maximum flexibility in how they respond to COVID-19 within their communities. Activities include supporting their workforce by ensuring access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and offering overtime and hazard pay, building infrastructure to include maximizing telehealth services; increasing their capacity to test and isolate suspected COVID-19 patients, purchasing mobile clinics or vehicles for transporting COVID-19 patients to increase access to health care services and providing culturally-informed educational resources and information to promote behaviors that slow the spread of the virus.

For the complete list of Rural Tribal COVID-19 Response program award recipients, visit: www.hrsa.gov/rural-health/coronavirus/rural-tribal-covid-19-response-fy20-awards.

For more information about COVID-19, visit www.coronavirus.gov. For more information on HRSA’s COVID-19 efforts, visit www.hrsa.gov/coronavirus.



Thu, 28 May 2020 11:00:00 -0400


HHS Announces 45-Day Compliance Deadline Extension for Providers

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is announcing a 45 day deadline extension for providers who are receiving payments from the Provider Relief Fund to accept the Terms and Conditions for Provider Relief Fund payments. This announcement means providers have now been granted 90 days from the date they received a payment to accept HHS Terms and Conditions or return the funds.

HHS, alongside other federal agencies, has been working day and night to support local communities and has taken action to help our healthcare system respond quickly and effectively to this pandemic. The department has kept an open line of communication with our heroic frontline providers and is being responsive to their request for additional time to review and agree to Provider Relief Fund Terms and Conditions. All providers who have received Provider Relief Fund payments must agree to the program Terms and Conditions if they wish to keep the funds.

President Trump is providing support to healthcare providers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic through the bipartisan CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, which provide $175 billion in relief funds to hospitals and other healthcare providers, including those on the front lines of the coronavirus response. This funding supports healthcare-related expenses or lost revenue attributable to COVID-19 and ensures uninsured Americans can get treatment for COVID-19.

HHS previously announced that $50 billion of the Provider Relief Fund was allocated for general distribution to facilities and providers that bill Medicare and were impacted by COVID-19, based on eligible providers' net patient revenue. To expedite providers getting money as quickly as possible, HHS distributed $30 billion immediately, proportionate to providers' share of Medicare fee-for-service reimbursements in 2019. Then, beginning on April 24, HHS began distributing an additional $20 billion to providers based on their share of net patient revenue, and began accepting submissions from eligible providers of their financial data. With the extension announced today, providers will now have 90 days from the date they received a payment to accept the Terms and Conditions or return the funds. Providers that do not accept the Terms and Conditions after 90 days of receipt will be deemed to have accepted the Terms and Conditions.

Other allocations have included $12 billion for hospitals in COVID-19 high-impact areas, $10 billion for rural providers, $500 million for tribal healthcare providers and $4.9 billion for skilled nursing facilities. Some providers may receive further, separate funding, including dentists, and providers that solely take Medicaid. A portion of the Provider Relief Fund is being used to reimburse healthcare providers, generally at Medicare rates, for COVID-related treatment of the uninsured.

Visit hhs.gov/providerrelief for more information.



Fri, 22 May 2020 18:15:00 -0400


HHS Announces $500 Million Distribution to Tribal Hospitals, Clinics, and Urban Health Centers

Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced $500 million in payments from the Provider Relief Fund to the Indian Health Service (IHS) and tribal hospitals, clinics, and urban health centers to support the tribal response to COVID-19.

The pandemic has disproportionately impacted IHS providers and programs. Many such providers have experienced significantly increased need for personal protective equipment (PPE) as well as increased labor costs due to employees that have been exposed to COVID-19. At least 233 facilities across the Indian health system serve as the only health care provider for both IHS and non-IHS beneficiaries, making them critical to stopping the spread of COVID-19 and reopening America. This funding provides vital support to these healthcare facilities, which in some cases may be the only healthcare facility within a day's traveling distance for those served. Combined with previous funding, this distribution brings the total amount of new resources to the Indian health system to $2.4 billion dollars.

"President Trump has prioritized the health and well-being of American Indians and Alaska Natives throughout his presidency and the COVID-19 crisis," said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. "The Trump Administration is making a targeted allocation from the funds Congress provided to send $500 million to Indian healthcare facilities. Combined with other funding, supplies, and flexibility around telehealth, we are working with tribal governments to do everything we can to support heroic Indian healthcare workers and protect Indian Country from COVID-19."

"The Indian Health Service, along with our tribal and urban Indian organization partners, are delivering crucial services under extraordinary circumstances," said IHS Director Rear Adm. Michael D. Weahkee. "The resources provided by the Provider Relief Fund will make a real difference in our ability to fulfill the IHS mission of raising the physical, mental, social and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Natives during this pandemic."

Distribution Methodology

  • IHS and tribal hospitals will receive a $2.81 million base payment plus three percent of their total operating expenses
  • IHS and tribal clinics and programs will receive a $187,000 base payments plus five percent of the estimated service population multiplied by the average cost per user
  • IHS urban programs will receive a $181,000 base payment plus six percent of the estimated service population multiplied by the average cost per user

HHS has allocated approximately 4% of available funding for Urban Indian Health Programs, consistent with the percent of patients served by Urban Indian Organizations (UIOs) in relation to the total IHS active user population, as well as prior allocations of IHS COVID-19 funding. The remaining funding will be divided equally between hospitals and clinics.

How did HHS determine operating costs for IHS clinics and UIOs?

HHS identified the service population for most service units, and estimated an operating cost of $3,943 per person per year based on actual IHS spending per user from a 2019 IHS Expenditures Per Capita and Other Federal Health Care Expenditures Per Capita report.

President Trump is providing support to healthcare providers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic through the bipartisan CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act that provide $175 billion in relief funds to hospitals and other healthcare providers on the front lines of the coronavirus response. The allocation of these funds is part of the Trump Administration's whole-of-America approach to addressing the economic impact of COVID-19 on providers and doing so as quickly and transparently as possible.

Visit hhs.gov/providerrelief for additional information on the Provider Relief Fund.

Visit https://www.ihs.gov/coronavirus/ for the latest information on the COVID-19 response from IHS



Fri, 22 May 2020 16:00:00 -0400


HHS Announces Nearly $4.9 Billion Distribution to Nursing Facilities Impacted by COVID-19

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is announcing it has begun distributing billions in additional relief funds to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) to help them combat the devastating effects of this pandemic. Nursing homes play a pivotal role in providing skilled care to our nation’s vulnerable seniors. During this pandemic, nursing homes have faced unique challenges as their population of high risk seniors are more vulnerable to respiratory pathogens like COVID-19. This funding, which supplements previously announced provider relief funds, will be used to support nursing homes suffering from significant expenses or lost revenue attributable to COVID-19.

“This funding secured by President Trump will help nursing homes keep the seniors they care for safe during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “The Trump Administration is providing every resource we can, from funding and direct PPE shipments to regulatory flexibility and infection control consultations, to protect seniors in nursing homes and those who care for them.”

President Trump is providing support to healthcare providers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic through the bipartisan CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act that provide $175 billion in relief funds to hospitals and other healthcare providers on the front lines of the coronavirus response. In allocating these funds, the Administration is working, among other things, to address the economic impact of COVID-19 on providers and doing so as quickly and transparently as possible.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the viability of SNFs in a variety of ways. Since the beginning of 2020, SNFs have experienced up to a 6 percent decline in their patient population as current and potential residents choose other care settings, or as current residents pass away. In addition to nursing home residents, many SNF employees have also been diagnosed with COVID-19. These additional funds may help nursing homes address critical needs such as labor, scaling up their testing capacity, acquiring personal protective equipment and a range of other expenses directly linked to this pandemic.

Distribution Methodology

HHS will make relief fund distributions to SNFs based on both a fixed basis and variable basis. Each SNF will receive a fixed distribution of $50,000, plus a distribution of $2,500 per bed. All certified SNFs with six or more certified beds are eligible for this targeted distribution.

Nursing home recipients must attest that they will only use Provider Relief Fund payments for permissible purposes, as set forth in the Terms and Conditions, and agree to comply with future government audit and reporting requirements.

Visit hhs.gov/providerrelief for additional information.

Other Nursing Home Resources:

To find CDC guidance for nursing home safety and preparedness during this pandemic, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/long-term-care.html

To find a CMS toolkit to help nursing homes prevent the spread of COVID-19, visit: https://www.cms.gov/files/document/covid-toolkit-states-mitigate-covid-19-nursing-homes.pdf



Fri, 22 May 2020 08:30:00 -0400