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HHS Announces Details Of $2 Bln Provider Relief Fund To Nursing Homes

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or HHS announced details of the performance-based incentive payment distribution to nursing homes from a $2 billion Provider Relief Fund or PRF.

This distribution is the latest update under the previously announced $5 billion in planned support to nursing homes struggling with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, the HHS said it distributed $2.5 billion in funding to over 15,000 nursing homes nationwide to help with upfront COVID-19-related expenses for testing, staffing, and personal protective equipment needs.

Funding for the nursing home incentive program is being provided by the Trump administration as part of the $175 billion Provider Relief program included in the CARES Act as well as the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act.

However, nursing homes do not have to apply to receive a share of the $2 billion incentive payment allocation. The HHS said it will evaluate nursing home performance through data submissions and distribute the funding accordingly.

Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC, the HHS will performance of the nursing home providers will be measured on two outcomes - their ability to keep new COVID infection rates as well as mortality rates low among residents.

The facility COVID-19 infection and mortality rates will be measured by utilizing data from the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) LTCF COVID-19 module.

To qualify for payments under the incentive program, a facility must have an active state certification as a nursing home, or skilled nursing facility (SNF). The facility must also receive reimbursement from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services or CMS.

The incentive payment program is scheduled to be divided into four performance periods of September, October, November and December, lasting one month each, with $500 million available to nursing homes in each period.

Nursing homes will be assessed based on a full month's worth of the data submissions. The data will be further scrutinized by the HHS and audited. The HHS said payments will be issued the following month after the previous month's performance period.

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