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COVID-19: Preparing Providers to Receive Disaster Relief Funding

Last week, the federal government passed a $2.2 trillion federal emergency package as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The stimulus provides significant funding for providers, hospitals and health systems reeling from the operational and financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Crucially, the package includes $100 billion in an emergency fund for reimbursing health care providers for expenses and lost revenues directly attributable to COVID-19.


Who is eligible to receive payments from the $100 billion emergency fund?

Suppliers and providers enrolled in Medicare or Medicaid are eligible to apply to receive funds. This includes hospitals, health systems, ambulatory care centers, independent practice associations (IPAs) and individual providers.


How will funds be distributed?

Although the federal government has not yet created an application or distribution process, the legislation indicates that the funds will “remain available until fully committed and expended,” meaning the emergency fund will be first-come, first-served. Providers will need to respond quickly when the federal government releases the application to increase their chances of receiving funds.


What should providers be doing now to prepare?

Hospitals, health systems and other providers should begin documenting their excess costs and revenue losses as a result of COVID-19 in a clear and systematic way. Although it’s not certain what rules the federal government will place on the funds, having well-documented reports has been crucial in securing funds in similar previous scenarios (e.g., hurricanes or other natural disasters). In the past, more thorough documentation has led to greater success in drawing down disaster-related funding.


Will there be other sources of funding?

Health care organizations may be eligible for other funds targeted to both large and small businesses in the $2.2 trillion package and should carefully review their options. Although none have to date, it is possible that state and local governments will provide similar funding packages for providers affected by COVID-19. Providers should thoughtfully consider which expenses and revenue losses should be submitted for each program as they are released.


How COPE Health Solutions can help

COPE Health Solutions has deep experience helping hospitals, health systems and provider groups draw down federal and state funds through grants, waivers and other programs. Our experts have guided health systems in the past through emergencies and disasters and designed and implemented protocols to document costs and lost revenue for reimbursement by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the United States Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). COPE Health Solutions can help providers identify all areas of excess COVID-19 costs, analyze claims data to document revenue loss, and implement documentation processes. Our firm can provide resources and toolkits, become a partner, or assist with documenting procedures during the COVID-19 crisis.

For more information, learn about our disaster relief funding and financial advisory services or contact us at

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