Senate Passes CARES Act

March 26, 2020

Late yesterday, the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act was passed by the U.S. Senate. The IHA-supported legislation includes significant funding and support for hospitals and health systems, totaling over $100 billion. The U.S. House of Representatives will consider the bill tomorrow, and the White House has already signaled that President Trump will quickly sign the measure into law.

Provisions of the bill include:

  • $100 billion in emergency funding made available through grants or other payment mechanisms to hospitals and other eligible healthcare providers through the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus;   
  • $27 billion to fund increased production of supplies such as personal protective equipment and development and purchase of vaccines;   
  • Suspension of 2% Medicare sequester;   
  • 20% Medicare DRG add-on payment for COVID-19 cases;   
  • Elimination of Medicaid disproportionate share hospital program cuts in fiscal year (FY) 2020;   
  • Allowance for federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) and rural health clinics (RHCs) to serve as distant sites for the provision of telehealth services;   
  • Requirement that providers publish their “cash price” for COVID-19 testing;   
  • Small business loans up to $10 million available to organizations with fewer than 500 total employees; and   
  • Expanded coverage of COVID-19 testing to include laboratory tests that have not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Several provisions in the CARES Act are broadly written and/or require additional details from the Executive Branch regarding accessing and applying for specific funding and other policy measures. IHA will provide details as they become available.