Coronavirus: HHS announces more than $4 billion in healthcare provider relief payments

The money will go to safety net hospitals, rural care providers, and providers from small urban areas.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced additional relief payments to healthcare providers affected by the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

According to a news release, the funds will go to safety net hospitals, rural care providers, and providers from small urban areas. Also, the agency announced the opening of a new provider portal which will allow dentists to apply for relief.

"We've been distributing the Provider Relief Funds as quickly as possible to those providers who have been hardest hit by the pandemic," HHS Secretary Alex Azar says in the release. "President Trump is supporting hospitals in continuing to provide COVID-19 care and returning to everyday procedures, especially hospitals that serve vulnerable and minority populations. Close work with stakeholders informed how we targeted this new round of funds to hard-hit safety-net and rural providers."

The new allocations are part of the financial support HHS has given since the beginning of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic which includes the $175 billion allocated in the CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Act and Health Care Enhancement act, the release says.

Of the new funds, $3 billion will go to safety net hospitals who were left out of a June 9 distribution of $10 billion in Provider Relief Funds because they could not qualify. This round of funding will have expanded criteria so that certain acute care hospitals meeting can meet the requirements. HHS expects to distribute the funds to 215 acute care facilities, the release says.

An additional $1 billion in funds will be distributed to certain special rural Medicare facilities as well as some who are providing care in smaller non-rural areas. These facilities might include some suburban hospitals which are not considered rural, but serve rural patients operating with smaller profit margins and limited resources. HHS believes the funds will be dispersed in payments ranging from $100,000 to $4.5 million to 500 of such facilities, according to the release.