Manchin Statement On HHS Emergency Funding Distribution Plan
Charleston, WV – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar announced an additional $10 billion will be dedicated to rural healthcare providers. This comes after weeks of Senator Manchin urging additional funding be targeted specifically at rural healthcare providers.
“I’m glad to see HHS Secretary Azar recognize that rural health providers are getting left behind as we battle the COVID-19 pandemic. I hope today’s announcement is the beginning and not the end of this effort. Secretary Azar has the authority to do what Mitch McConnell would not. He can implement the commonsense, bipartisan reforms I have been fighting for like a 20% rural set aside, and I look forward to working with him to do just that,” Senator Manchin said.
The announcement from HHS included the following distribution:
- $50 billion is for general distribution to Medicare providers. $30 billion of this was allocated on April 10th.
- $10 billion will be targeted directly to rural providers. This includes 2,000 rural hospitals, 1,100 rural health clinics, and 1,300 free standing clinics.
- $10 billion for high impact areas affected by COVID-19.
- $400 million for Indian Health Service.
- Other providers who will receive further, separate funding, including skilled nursing facilities, dentists, and providers that solely take Medicaid.
- Funding to reimburse healthcare providers who have seen a patient without insurance since February 4th, 2020.
Priorities for the remaining funding:
- The Administration has stated that it is working rapidly on targeted distributions that will focus on providers in areas particularly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, rural providers, providers of services with lower shares of Medicare reimbursement or who predominantly serve the Medicaid population, and providers requesting reimbursement for the treatment of uninsured Americans.
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 $100 billion provider fund. Without equitable formula guidelines, we believe it will be difficult for the rural providers to access the $100 billion provider grant program.
- 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.
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