CMS expected to distribute $30 billion to eligible healthcare providers under the CARES Act
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes a provision that makes $100 billion available to the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (PHSSEF) for eligible health care providers. On April 7, 2020, Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), announced that CMS will start distributing $30 billion of the $100 billion fund this week.
According to Verma, the first $30 billion tranche will be distributed to healthcare providers as grants based on Medicare revenue, will not be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, and will have no strings attached.
Verma stated that healthcare providers that have existing direct deposit accounts with Medicare will receive their share of funds via direct deposit, and that other healthcare providers will need to register with CMS to obtain their funds. Details on the registration process are forthcoming. For healthcare providers that receive most of their revenue from other sources – for example, pediatricians, children’s hospitals, obstetricians-gynecologists, and nursing homes – there will be a second tranche of funding where priority will be given to these providers.
CMS has already dispersed approximately $34 billion to healthcare providers over the past week through its Accelerated and Advance Payment Program, which is separate from the PHSSEF grants. The advance payments constitute loans that healthcare providers must pay back, while the PHSSEF grants do not need to be repaid.
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