Although no details of this process have been officially released, Seema Verma, administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced at Monday’s White House COVID-19 Task Force briefing that CMS will release an initial $30 billion distribution from the $100 billion health care provider relief fund in the CARES Act (the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund), with the stated goal of getting the payments out to providers as quickly as possible.
More specifically, Administrator Verma stated that the $30 billion “grants” will be distributed to hospitals and other health care providers “this week.” The payments will be based on each provider’s proportionate share of Medicare Fee-for Service revenue and that there will be “no strings attached.” Once received, the health care provider is free to use the funds as the provider sees fit. CMS has advised that the payments will be distributed via direct deposit for providers that have such accounts on file with CMS. For those that do not, Administrator Verma promised that there will be a “simple” registration process that will be available this week and result in payments either later this week or early next week. She also stressed that the payments will not be based on a first come-first served basis, but distributed to all providers that receive Medicare payments.
Administrator Verma acknowledged that other providers such as pediatricians, OBGYN’s, children’s hospitals, and some nursing homes that primarily rely on sources of payment other than Medicare may not receive funding under this initiative. However, she stated that she anticipates a second wave of funding coming shortly that will address these providers.