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Capitol Correspondence - 07.07.20

Possible New COVID-19 Emergency Funds in the Making for Providers Locked Out of Previous Disbursement

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ANCOR has aggressively sought redress from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on behalf of providers who were blocked from receiving even small amounts of COVID-19 emergency relief from the Medicaid provider tranche because they are partially funded by Medicare. We are encouraged in these continued efforts by reporting from Politico Pro stating that the “Trump administration is planning to allow health care providers another chance at applying for a broad bailout fund if they missed an earlier round, an HHS spokesperson confirmed to POLITICO.”

Despite this positive sign, it is important to note that HHS has not formally announced a fourth tranche, nor has it set up a portal for applications. At this time, an additional tranche remains a possibility, rather than a definite opportunity; we will continue to keep our members informed of developments in this area. ANCOR members are encouraged to monitor the ANCOR Connected Community (ACC), as that is where staff post the most time-sensitive updates. Readers interested in learning about the advantages of ANCOR membership like the ACC can contact Gabrielle Sedor, COO, at [email protected].

As reported by Politico Pro:

“The Trump administration is planning to allow health care providers another chance at applying for a broad bailout fund if they missed an earlier round, an HHS spokesperson confirmed to POLITICO. The decision is expected to especially help mental health and addiction treatment specialists, after many missed out on aid amid confusion over funding rules.

The background: Nearly one-third of these specialists haven’t received any money from a $175 billion coronavirus relief fund the health department is distributing, even as the pandemic is fueling demand for their services. Others received a small amount, like one Illinois behavioral health provider who got just $12,346 to help run 25 different programs.

HHS first rewarded aid to providers based on how many Medicare patients they see. It then reopened the program to allow those same providers to apply for more funds based on overall patient revenue.

Behavioral health groups told POLITICO the confusion around that deadline for general distribution funds and eligibility criteria resulted in many missing the opportunity to apply for those extra dollars. They largely assumed they’d be eligible for a round of funding targeted at Medicaid providers, but they were surprised to learn they were shut out from that funding stream if they had previously received any relief aid, even if it was a small amount.

The impact: HHS’s decision to reopen the fund for providers who missed the deadline comes after POLITICO reported that mental health and addiction specialists had received little federal help while they struggled to stay afloat.

A number of the largest behavioral health groups in the country, including the National Council for Behavioral Health, the American Psychiatric Association and Mental Health America, have repeatedly called on federal health officials to set aside funding to ensure their members would receive aid.

What’s next: The HHS spokesperson said any provider that missed the deadline will be able to apply. They’ll be eligible to receive 2 percent of their revenue from seeing patients. More guidance will be forthcoming, the spokesperson said.”