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Remarks to the Press on Medicaid and Safety Net Hospital Provider Relief Fund Distribution

Eric D. Hargan
Hubert H. Humphrey Building
June 9, 2020
Washington, D.C.

Good afternoon, everyone, and thanks for joining us on this call today.

We're announcing the next major distribution of the $175 billion in provider relief funds secured by President Trump from Congress. Our goal for all of the distributions has been to get this money to the providers who need it most, as quickly as possible.

This new distribution focuses on two sets of providers: first, eligible Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program providers that participate in state Medicaid and CHIP programs that have not received a payment from the Provider Relief Fund General Allocation, and second, safety net hospitals that serve our most vulnerable citizens.

We expect that about $15 billion will be sent to these Medicaid and CHIP providers and $10 billion will be sent to safety net hospitals—a total of $25 billion in aid for providers who serve the most vulnerable.

Let me describe the qualifications for each of these groups briefly. The first General Distribution of the Provider Relief Fund, $50 billion back in April, made payments to over 1 million providers. Approximately 450,000 of these providers care for Medicaid and CHIP recipients.

This distribution we are announcing today will make Provider Relief Funds available to the remaining 275,000 providers that care for Medicaid and CHIP recipients but did not receive funds in the general distribution.

These Medicaid and CHIP providers typically operate on thin margins and often include practitioners like dentists, pediatricians, assisted living facilities, and behavioral health providers like opioid treatment programs.

Second, we are sending funds to safety net hospitals, which we've defined as those with a Medicare Disproportionate Payment Percentage of 20.2 percent or greater, average Uncompensated Care per bed of $25,000 or more, and profitability of 3 percent or less as reported to CMS.

Targeting these funds to Medicaid and safety net providers is essential because they operate on thin margins and may be struggling more than other providers during this crisis.

But it's also important because the populations they serve, low-income and minority Americans, have suffered disproportionately from COVID-19. According to a recent CDC report, black Americans are being hospitalized for COVID-19 at a rate approximately 4.5 times that of white Americans; Hispanic Americans have a rate approximately 3.5 times that of non-Hispanic whites, and American Indians and Alaska Natives have a rate of approximately 5 times that of whites. We want to make sure the providers that serve these patients have the resources and support they need to provide care.

With the provider relief fund, we've put a focus on the providers that disproportionately serve these populations, including through $2 billion in payments for providers with significant DSH payments, $10 billion for rural providers, and $500 million for Indian healthcare providers.

Through direct HRSA grants, we've also distributed more than $2 billion to community health centers, which work with underserved communities, and we've helped stand up hundreds of community-based testing sites in medically vulnerable areas.

President Trump, Secretary Azar, and the entire Trump Administration recognize the burden COVID-19 is having on low-income and minority Americans, and we're doing everything we can to address it.

I want to close by noting that part of today's rollout is an enhanced Provider Relief Fund portal, which will allow eligible Medicaid providers to supply data to determine their payments from this distribution. Through the updated portal, all providers will be able to submit their payer mix, to inform future distributions to providers who serve a large portion of Medicaid patients or provide a large amount of uncompensated care.

We look forward to providing you with more updates about how we're using the funds to support the providers that have been hardest hit by the virus, who have worked heroically on the frontlines to care for COVID-19 patients. We need to support these providers and the care they provide for COVID-19 patients, and we need to ensure they will be there as Americans return to seek more everyday medical services.

Thanks for joining the call today, and I'm happy to take some questions.

Content created by Speechwriting and Editorial Division 
Content last reviewed on June 9, 2020