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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Hospitals Stung Financially by Covid-19 Pandemic Seek Remainder of Relief Fund Payouts

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Hospitals are pressing the Biden administration to pay out the remaining relief funds that Congress granted last year to cover financial losses from the Covid-19 pandemic, saying it has been more than three months since the government’s last announcement of a large disbursement.

Congress last year approved $178 billion to create a relief fund for health providers. The last announcement about payouts from the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the disbursements, was Dec. 17, when the department said it would send about $24.5 billion to 70,000 health organizations.

Hospital groups worry that they haven’t had any communication about further disbursements since the Biden administration took office.

Of the original $178 billion fund, $24 billion, or 14%, was yet to be allocated, HHS said Thursday. Legislation enacted this month adds another $8.5 billion for rural hospitals.

The Biden administration has focused on ongoing distributions to cover the cost of treating uninsured patients and is reviewing the program to ensure that guidelines for the additional funds comply with federal statutes, an HHS spokeswoman said.

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