April 17, 2020
The first $30 billion of the $100 billion in CARES Act Emergency Relief Fund payments was disbursed to providers who, in 2019, received Medicare Fee-for-Service (FFS) reimbursements. As a result of being limited to FFS providers, many rural hospitals and providers who bill another provider under Part A consolidated payment rules (e.g., therapists providing Part A services to skilled nursing facilities), were left out. On April 15, 2020, the CMS Administrator, Seema Verma, told reporters that the next wave of hospital funding, expected this week, will partially target providers in hot spots that have been hit hard by COVID-19. Some hospital groups have been critical that the first round of funds didn’t go to areas with the most COVID-19 cases and was based on hospitals’ Medicare fee-for-service volumes, rather than also allocating for hospitals’ Medicaid and low-income volumes. It is still unclear how much money will be paid out to hospitals and other providers this week.