On April 10, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) began distributing the initial $30 billion in COVID-19 relief funding to providers as part of the distribution of the $100 billion fund provided as part of the CARES Act.

This initial distribution of funds will go to hospitals and providers currently enrolled in Medicare and take effect immediately. Facilities and providers are allotted a portion of the $30 billion based on their share of 2019 Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) reimbursements. Therefore, those facilities and providers that billed significant amounts of Medicare FFS in 2019 are the priority in this first phase.

These are payments, not loans, and will not need to be repaid. Fund recipients will be prohibited from balancing billing COVID-19 patients for related services. Additional details from HHS can be found here.

A second phase of targeted distributions to providers is expected to follow soon and will focus on providers in areas particularly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, rural providers, and providers of services with lower shares of Medicare FFS reimbursement or who predominantly serve the Medicaid population.