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Wisconsin Congressional Delegation Calls for Equitable Distribution of Hospital Relief Funds

April 09, 2020

In a letter April 3 to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Wisconsin’s Congressional Delegation requested details on the allocation of funds from a $100 billion pot meant to provide financial relief for hospitals struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
The bipartisan letter, signed by all nine members of Wisconsin’s Congressional Delegation, praised Wisconsin hospitals and health systems for heeding calls from the U.S. Surgeon General and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in mid-March to postpone non-essential elective procedures and services. Recognizing the financial challenges those federal directives created due to significant loss of revenue, the lawmakers requested more details on how $100 billion in funding authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES Act (PL 116-136) would be allocated. Noting that past funding formulas have disproportionately benefitted a few states with the highest population concentrations, the lawmakers requested details on how hospitals and health systems could access this funding as soon as possible, and transparency in how it would be allocated to ensure funding is fairly distributed to all states, and that Wisconsin does not get shortchanged.
 
On April 7, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator, Seema Verma, announced at a White House news briefing that the first $30 billion would be distributed based on how providers bill Medicare. While no official details have yet been made available, initial analysis by WHA suggests basing payments on Medicare rates could unfairly penalize Wisconsin. Wisconsin currently receives lower-than average Medicare rates despite more efficiently utilizing Medicare services and having some of the highest quality marks in the country. WHA is continuing to stay in close contact with Wisconsin’s Congressional Delegation and sources close to the Administration to urge them to ensure Wisconsin is not unfairly shortchanged. Please contact WHA Director of Federal and State Relations Jon Hoelter for more details.

This story originally appeared in the April 09, 2020 edition of WHA Newsletter