Senate Poised to Pass Sweeping COVID-19 Bill
March 25, 2020
Earlier today, the U.S. Senate reached bipartisan agreement on a nearly $2 trillion stimulus package to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Senate is expected to vote on the sweeping legislation later today, and the U.S. House could vote as early as tomorrow, although timing could shift. The IHA-supported package includes numerous actions to provide direct funding and support to hospitals and health systems responding to the COVID-19 outbreak. Among the healthcare provisions are:
- $100 billion in emergency funding for hospitals and other eligible healthcare providers through the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund to reimburse healthcare-related expenses or lost revenues not otherwise reimbursed and directly attributable to COVID-19;
- Suspension of the 2% Medicare sequestration from May 1 through Dec. 31, 2020;
- Expansion of the existing option for hospitals to request and receive “accelerated” Medicare payments. These payments are essentially an advance on future payments and are also available to critical access hospitals (CAHs) and children’s hospitals. The bill increases the amount most hospitals could receive to 100%, while CAHs could receive up to 125%. Recoupment would begin after four months, however hospitals would have at least 12 months to pay off the amounts in full; and
- Elimination of Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) program cuts in 2020 and part of 2021.
IHA will provide additional details and summaries in the coming days.