May 01, 2020

Manchin Applauds Distribution Of Rural Healthcare Provider COVID-19 Response Funding

Charleston, WV – Today U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) applauded the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announcement that rural healthcare providers will begin to receive funding from the additional COVID-19 emergency response funding that was passed last week.

“I continue to hear from healthcare professionals across West Virginia who desperately need financial support in order to continue caring for their fellow West Virginians during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of our health providers were functioning on shoestring budgets before the coronavirus pandemic forced them to cease elective procedures, their main source of support to slow the spread of COVID-19, said Senator Manchin. “I am pleased HHS will begin distributing funding to our rural hospitals and health centers across the state and am thrilled that the dedicated funding for rural healthcare providers is being delivered so quickly. We must continue to fight for dedicated rural funding in future COVID-19 emergency response funding packages so that our hospitals and health centers can continue to care for all West Virginians.”

Rural healthcare provider funding allocation details:

  • $10 billion to rural providers: This allocation will include disbursements to acute care hospitals, rural health clinics, and community health centers in rural areas.
    • Each facility will receive a minimum base rate in addition to a percentage of past operating expenses:
      • $1 million minimum to each hospital; with the median receiving $3.6 million, and the average receiving a little over $4 million
      • $100,000 minimum to each rural clinic or community health center; with the median receiving $124,000 and the average receiving $162,000
      • They can qualify for higher funding, by the relative proportion of operating expenses that those facilities represent over the entirety of rural healthcare.
    • All non-metro counties will be included utilizing rural census tracts.  However, ALL CAHs will also be included due to their "safety net provider".
  • Funds will be directly deposited; there is no need to apply. 
  • There is no requirement that a hospital or RHC has to be independent.  Funds for a hospital-affiliated RHC will go to the hospital, and a hospital affiliated with a larger system is still eligible. 

Senator Manchin has proposed HHS alter the formula to distribute emergency funding to hospitals include the following metrics:

  • A 20 percent Rural Benchmark in the Provider Relief Fund.
  • Priority should be granted to facilities that have been significantly affected by COVID-19 preparation. Rural facilities have lost 50 percent to 80 percent of revenue due to the elimination of non-emergency services as they prepare for a COVID-19 surge. Access to funds is critical. If they do not receive relief, most will close by the time the surge hits their rural community.
  • Priority should be granted for facilities that provide care for a disproportionally high percentage of Medicare and Medicaid patients.
  • Priority should be granted for facilities that provide care for populations with above average senior populations or co-morbidities that are particularly vulnerable to complications from COVID-19 and for populations in areas with limited access to health infrastructure. 

A timeline of Senator Manchin’s actions throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic can be found here.

Senator Manchin launched an information resources page where West Virginians can learn more about the coronavirus pandemic and how to protect themselves and their families. To learn more please click here

To receive daily updates from Senator Manchin on the coronavirus pandemic, please click here.