The Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) announced on August 7th details of the next CARES Act-authorized nursing home Provider Relief Fund (“PRF”) distribution. The PRF distribution will total $5 billion, and will be used to protect residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities from the impact of COVID-19.

Half of the funds will be distributed directly to nursing home operators with no application process. Average-sized facilities that received an antigen testing device as part of a separate HHS initiative will receive $90,000 and those that do not receive the device will receive $170,000.

An additional $2 billion of the PRF distribution will be put toward a value-based payment program designed to reward operators that log average or better-than-average numbers of new COVID-19 cases. The program will be entirely prospective and will not penalize facilities for past performance. The program will also not penalize for admitting positive patients into dedicated COVID-19 units.

The remaining $500 million will apparently be used to offset other COVID related costs. There have been no official announcement concerning the use of those funds, but some sources are reporting that the funds will be used to help nursing facilities to set up dedicated COVID wings and buildings, and “for collaboration with outside groups” for defeating COVID.

This distribution joins an earlier $4.9 billion in COVID-19 relief sent directly to nursing facilities along with the general distribution of stimulus phases under the CARES Act.

For more information, please contact Harvey Tettlebaum or Michael Crowe with Husch Blackwell’s Post-acute care initiative.