HHS Announces $2 Billion Provider Relief Fund for Nursing Homes that Keep COVID Infection and Mortality Low Among Residents

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On September 17, 2020, HHS announced details about its $2 billion Provider Relief Fund (PRF) performance-based incentive payment distribution program for nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities originally announced on September 3, 2020. The program will be divided into four performance periods (September, October, November, December), with $500 million available to nursing homes in each period. Using data from the CDC, HHS will distribute payments to facilities who have demonstrated an ability to keep COVID infection and mortality low among residents in their facilities.

As previously reported, the $2 billion Provider Relief Fund for nursing homes is part of the $5 billion allocation of CARES Act Provider Relief Fund for nursing homes that HHS announced on August 7. HHS previously announced it had delivered $2.5 billion in payments to nursing homes to help with COVID expenses for testing, staffing, and personal protective equipment.

To be eligible, a facility must first demonstrate a rate of COVID-19 that is below the rate of infection in the county in which the facility is located and have a COVID-19 death rate that is below a nationally established performance threshold for mortality among nursing home residents infected with COVID-19. For facilities that satisfy these eligibility requirements, HHS will then measure COVID infection and mortality rates of qualified nursing homes and SNFs using data from the CDC and compare facilities’ rates against a baseline level of infection in the community where a given facility is located.

Facilities will have their performance measured against this baseline for two outcomes: ability to keep new COVID infection rates low and ability to keep COVID mortality low among residents. Eighty percent of bonus payments will be directed towards facilities that have positive performance on the infection measure, and twenty percent of bonus payments will be directed towards facilities that have positive performance on the mortality measure. Incentive payments will be subject to the same terms and conditions applicable to the initial infection control payments announced last week.

The new distribution details for the program can be found here.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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