NMD announces $170 million for frontline health care providers
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), along with U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) and Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.), announced that an estimated 1,793 New Mexico health care providers will receive more than $169,486,132 to aid in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The New Mexico funding is part of a first wave of funding from the $150 billion grant program included in the bipartisan CARES Act for direct aid to health care institutions like hospitals that are facing severe financial challenges from the pandemic response. In addition to the $100 billion grant program, the CARES Act’s “Marshall Plan” includes funding to replenish the national stockpile of personal protective equipment, drugs, and medical equipment that health care workers need to save lives and protect themselves and others from the spread of the virus and other important activities to help combat the virus.
“The COVID-19 pandemic threatens to overwhelm and destabilize New Mexico’s health care system, and doctors, nurses, hospital staff, and other frontline health care workers have sounded the alarm,” Udall said. “This funding will be a lifeline for health care providers who are on the front lines of this crisis. Congress had to act boldly and quickly to make sure the nation’s health care system has the resources to treat COVID-19 patients and to protect health care providers from this disease. I’m pleased this initial funding is out the door to New Mexico frontline health care workers – who are nothing short of heroes. I will continue to push for expeditious and fair implementation of the CARES Act to make sure funding and other relief measures get on the ground and to New Mexico communities, and I will keep working for additional resources so that our health care heroes have the resources they need to do their jobs.”
"I am incredibly grateful and moved by all that our health care providers are doing during this pandemic to protect and treat New Mexicans,” said Heinrich. “They urgently need financial support and supplies to keep up their lifesaving work on the frontlines of this crisis. This critical funding from the CARES Act that Congress passed last month will go a long way toward providing that support. But we can’t stop here. I will continue holding the Trump Administration accountable every step of the way for delivering the resources New Mexico needs as efficiently and effectively as possible. I will also keep looking for innovative solutions to expand our health care capacity in New Mexico and create new supply chains for the personal protective equipment our health care workers need like face shields, gowns, ventilators, and masks. New Mexicans can count on me to keep doing everything in my power to secure the resources and equipment our state needs for an effective and lifesaving public health response.”
“I’m proud to join my colleagues in announcing significant federal investments in New Mexico’s health care system and providers. Our communities need every resource possible to combat COVID-19 and save lives. This much-needed assistance for New Mexico will go far to fund a robust response to this virus,” said Luján. “I am thankful to the health care workers and other essential personnel who are on the frontlines keeping our communities healthy and safe. Together, we will overcome this pandemic.”
“Every New Mexican deserves access to quality health care during this pandemic, but there is a risk of our health care system being overwhelmed and health care providers being put at unacceptable risk. The funding we included in the CARES Act will be distributed to our hospitals, community health centers, doctors, nurses, and other frontline health care workers, to prevent that from happening. Our work isn’t finished and we will continue to press this Administration to be accountable for personal protective equipment and more resources to keep New Mexico families healthy,” said Haaland.
“COVID-19 is creating unprecedented challenges for hospitals in every corner of New Mexico, some of whom have been forced into dire financial situations because of the virus’ spread. This is why I fought to secure funding through the CARES Act for hospitals in our state, many of whom are the only healthcare facility in their community. Today, I’m pleased to share this urgently needed relief will finally start to reach our providers on the front lines. I will continue to be in close contact with our local hospitals to ensure this funding reaches communities across central and southern New Mexico,” said Torres Small.
Not only do health care providers need the resources to treat patients with COVID-19, but many face severely declining revenues because they aren’t able to undertake elective procedures and other measures that generate the bulk of their revenue. Medical facilities in rural and low-income areas are especially at risk.
These initial funds will be distributed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services based on past Medicare payments. The payments represent a percentage of what providers were paid in 2019 under Medicare Parts A and B. Today’s estimate does not include payments to hospitals and providers who are part of multi-state health systems that aren’t based in New Mexico, since payments were based on tax identification information, meaning total payments to New Mexico will likely be higher.
Over 500,000 providers across the U.S. will start receiving payments today via electronic deposit. These funds are allocated as direct grants; there is no requirement for repayment. Health care entities that receive funding are expected to be asked to commit not to balance bill COVID patients. Balance billing or surprise billing occurs when patients are asked to cover the cost difference between what was charged and what their insurer agrees to pay.
The $2 trillion CARES Act is the third relief measure passed by Congress. In March, Congress passed the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, that provided an initial $8.3 billion in emergency funding for state, local government, and Tribal response efforts, and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, that provides for free nationwide testing for COVID-19 and additional sick leave benefits for employees with COVID-19 or who are caring for a person with COVID-19 or children whose school or childcare provider is closed because of COVID-19.