HHS announced July 10 that it will send an additional $4 billion in funding to hospitals affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bulk of the funds — $3 billion — will go to safety-net hospitals. HHS previously distributed $10 billion to safety-net hospitals, but many hospitals didn't qualify for payments. HHS said it is expanding the criterion for payment for the next $3 billion disbursement.
To qualify for the payments, hospitals must have a profitability threshold of less than 3 percent averaged consecutively over at least two of the last five cost reporting periods. HHS said it expects 215 acute care facilities to get a slice of the $3 billion.
HHS is also sending more than $1 billion to rural hospitals and other healthcare providers in small metropolitan areas. The agency said many hospitals that didn't qualify for the previous disbursement of rural provider payments will receive funds this time.
"HHS is expanding the existing payment formula to include certain special rural Medicare designation hospitals in urban areas as well as others who provide care in smaller non-rural communities," the agency said. "These may include some suburban hospitals that are not considered rural but serve rural populations and operate with smaller profit margins and limited resources than larger hospitals."
HHS said it expects to distribute more than $1 billion to 500 of these hospitals. Payments will range from $100,000 to $4.5 million for rural-designated providers and from $100,000 to $2 million for other providers.