States Launch New COVID-19 Provider Relief Funding Efforts

As discussed in previous articles, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has disbursed significant funding to many provider types.  Certain providers on the front lines have been largely left out, including assisted living providers.  As of June 9, 2020, that is starting to change from a federal perspective for the relatively small number of assisted living providers that participate in the Medicaid program.  Fortunately, some states have recognized the need to provide alternative or supplemental aid to health care providers early (for a previous article on this topic, see here).  In this article, we review New Hampshire and Wisconsin’s recently announced relief funding, important because of the size and nature of the funding.

Wisconsin

On June 8, 2020, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) released information through its web site, titled COVID-19: CARES Act Provider Payments.  The site states:

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is accepting applications from specific types of health care providers to receive pandemic relief funds. These funds are meant to offset losses and expenses incurred during March, April, and May 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The funds for these payments were provided to the State under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Those familiar with HHS’ provider relief funds will recognize the “losses and expenses” terminology utilized by DHS.  The state appears to be modeling its funding off the federal funding conditions.  In total, $100 million is targeted for Wisconsin long-term care service providers and facilities, as well as emergency medical services providers, and multiple Wisconsin assisted living provider types are eligible: 3-4 bed adult family homes, community-based resident facilities, and resident care apartment complexes may all seek funding.  Other long-term care providers eligible include home and community-based service providers and nursing homes.

Wisconsin providers seeking funding should apply soon.  The application will be open until June 30, 2020, with initial checks mailed within 14 business days of an approved application. The application may be accessed here.  Note that once the application period has closed, a second round of payments will be calculated to provide those providers with greater needs additional support from remaining funds.  Wisconsin may become a model for other states considering relief funding for assisted living providers during and after the pandemic.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire has also made certain funding available to health care providers, including assisted living facilities.  In March 2020, the state established a COVID-19 “Emergency Healthcare System Relief Fund.”  At the time, the funding was targeted at hospitals.  However, in May 2020, the state recognized the need to expand the funding and list of eligible health care providers.  It announced an additional $50 million (on top of an already allocated $50 million) would be added to the funds, $30 million of which would be specifically designated to support long-term care providers.  In addition to assisted living facilities, eligible long-term care providers include residential skilled nursing facilities, home health care agencies, and other congregate residential living facilities that provide healthcare services to the elderly that are licensed by the Department of Health and Human Services.

On June 10, 2020, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services announced that an application form for grants for long-term care providers would be available starting June 12, 2020.  Note that the completed form, which was emailed to providers on June 12, 2020, must be submitted by this coming Friday, June 19, 2020.  Once submitted, the application will be reviewed by a team of individuals from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Revenue Administration, and the Attorney General’s office.  Final eligibility criteria will not be determined until all applications are received.  Additional FAQs may be found here.

For more information, please contact Hedy S. Rubinger or Alexander B. Foster.

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