In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Congress has enacted three laws—the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and the CARES Act—that authorize unprecedented levels of funding to support the health care industry. While some of these authorizations build upon existing networks of grants and contracts, much of the appropriated funding grants significant discretion to federal agencies to allocate and distribute the money. Many of the funds will be distributed in the coming days and weeks by various federal agencies.
In anticipation of applying for these funds, businesses affected by the pandemic should begin identifying, documenting, and projecting expected additional costs and losses, and be prepared to submit a succinct statement justifying their need for the funds. In addition, companies should be aware that they may have a choice of programs from which they may seek reimbursement. Foley attorneys are actively tracking the grant solicitations and can assist in identifying opportunities and applying for available funds.
The legislation appropriates unprecedented funds to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus.” In total, over $130 billion dollars were placed into the pre-existing Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund, which previously had an annual budget of just over $2 million.
$150 billion will be distributed to states, territories, tribes, and local units of government for necessary expenditures incurred due to the COVID-19 emergency through the end of calendar year 2020, that were not accounted for in the most recent budget. Payments to states will be made by end of April 2020 and local governments may submit certifications requesting a portion of the funds.
Medicare hospitals may request acceleration of interim payments for their Medicare receivables, allowing them to double their interim payments. Hospitals will be required to repay the accelerated payments out of future Medicare receivables, but will not be charged interest.
For Medicaid payments, CMS has announced that states may submit emergency requests for section 1115 demonstrations to address coronavirus emergency, which can be used to waive otherwise applicable requirements and to draw down funding for things that Medicaid does not normally cover. These demonstrations may be used by states to expand Medicaid coverage or reimbursement during the emergency period.
$2.45 billion for grants and cooperative agreements to carry out surveillance, epidemiology, laboratory capacity, infection control, mitigation, communications, and other preparedness and response activities. These funds are available to states, localities, territories, tribes, tribal organizations, urban Indian health organizations, or health service providers to tribes, and will be automatically provided to entities that received grants in 2019.
The legislation include two appropriations for supplemental distributions to health centers (including Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) that have Health Resource & Services Administration (HRSA) grants), one of $100m that has already been distributed to health centers and a separate one for $1.32 billion that has not yet been distributed.
In addition, $180 million for health centers to carry out telehealth and rural health activities, $90 million for Ryan White grantees, and $125 million to re-authorize the Healthy Start Program for project areas with high (or increasing at a rate above national average) rates of infant mortality.
At least $250 million to increase access to and improve the quality of community mental and substance use disorder treatment services through the expansion of Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics.
$45 billion to add to the Disaster Relief Fund, which funds eligible response and recovery efforts associated with domestic major disasters and emergencies.
For more information, please contact your Foley relationship partner or the Foley colleagues listed below. For additional web-based resources available to assist you in monitoring the spread of the coronavirus on a global basis, you may wish to visit the websites of the CDC and the World Health Organization.
Foley has created a multi-disciplinary and multi-jurisdictional team to respond to COVID 19, which has prepared a wealth of topical client resources and is prepared to help our clients meet the legal and business challenges that the coronavirus outbreak is creating for stakeholders across a range of industries. Click here for Foley’s Coronavirus Resource Center to stay apprised of relevant developments, insights and resources to support your business during this challenging time. To receive this content directly in your inbox, click here and submit the form.