Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it has begun distributing 191 payments totaling $56,065,000 to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) in Washington to help them combat the devastating effects of this pandemic. Nursing homes play a pivotal role in providing skilled care to our nation’s vulnerable seniors. During this pandemic, nursing homes have faced unique challenges as their population of high-risk seniors are more vulnerable to respiratory pathogens like COVID-19. This funding, which supplements previously announced provider relief funds, will be used to support nursing homes suffering from significant expenses or lost revenue attributable to COVID-19.
The presidential administration is providing support to healthcare providers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic through the bipartisan CARES Act, the Paycheck Protection Program and the Health Care Enhancement Act that provides $175 billion in relief funds to hospitals and other healthcare providers on the front lines of the coronavirus response. In allocating these funds, the Administration is working, among other things, to address the economic impact of COVID-19 on providers and doing so as quickly and transparently as possible.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the viability of SNFs in a variety of ways. Since the beginning of 2020, SNFs have experienced up to a 6% decline in their patient population as current and potential residents choose other care settings, or as current residents pass away. In addition to nursing home residents, many SNF employees have been diagnosed with COVID-19. These additional funds may help nursing homes address critical needs such as labor, scaling up their testing capacity, acquiring personal protective equipment and a range of other expenses directly linked to this pandemic.
HHS will make relief fund distributions to SNFs based on both a fixed basis and variable basis. Each SNF will receive a fixed distribution of $50,000, plus a distribution of $2,500 per bed. All certified SNFs with six or more certified beds are eligible for this targeted distribution.
Nursing home recipients must attest that they will only use Provider Relief Fund payments for permissible purposes, as set forth in the Terms and Conditions, and agree to comply with future government audit and reporting requirements.
Visit hhs.gov/providerrelief for additional information.
Other Nursing Home Resources
To find CDC guidance for nursing home safety and preparedness during this pandemic, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/long-term-care.html
To find a CMS toolkit to help nursing homes prevent the spread of COVID-19, visit: https://www.cms.gov/files/document/covid-toolkit-states-mitigate-covid-19-nursing-homes.pdf