On May 22, 2020, HHS announced that it has begun distributing $4.9 billion in additional relief funds to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) to assist SNFs in weathering significant expenses or lost revenue attributable to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Each eligible 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 the distribution. The funds will be distributed from the $175 billion Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (also known as the Provider Relief Fund), established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act and expanded by the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act.
In receiving the funds, SNF recipients must attest that they will use Provider Relief Fund payments only for health care related expenses or lost revenues that are attributable to COVID-19, as set forth in the Terms and Conditions, and agree to comply with future government audit and reporting requirements. The Terms and Conditions include the following required certifications by the recipient:
- the recipient provides or provided after January 31, 2020 diagnoses, testing, or care for individuals with possible or actual cases of COVID-19;
- the payment will only be used to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19, and the payment shall reimburse the recipient only for health care related expenses or lost revenues that are attributable to COVID-19; and
- the recipient will not use the payment to reimburse expenses or losses that have been reimbursed from other sources or that other sources are obligated to reimburse.
SNF recipients must maintain appropriate records and cost documentation to demonstrate compliance with the Terms and Conditions.
The May 22, 2020 distribution marks the first dedicated COVID-19 relief for nursing homes, which have been among the providers most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.