The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announced on Wednesday that it will provide $80 million in CARES Act funding to nursing homes. Importantly, $30 million of the funds are allocated to a nursing home admission incentive program. This program will offer a $2,900 payment for every admission a nursing home receives directly from a hospital, covering admissions from the last two weeks of October until funds are expended or through December 30, 2020, when the CARES Act funding expires. DHS intends for the funds to boost the number of staffed nursing home beds that can accept hospital discharges.
In addition, DHS is allocating $50 million in one-time payments to nursing homes that applied for funding in its Direct Provider Payment program, which offered two application rounds last spring and summer. Nursing homes applied for more dollars than had been allocated through that grant program. DHS will now fully fund all eligible costs associated with those applications. Those funds will go out in one payment the week of Thanksgiving.
WHA President and CEO Eric Borgerding welcomed the news, noting that the dollars need to be used to expand nursing home capacity and reduce the backlog of patients in hospitals waiting to be discharged back to their nursing. “We are pleased with DHS’ latest response to the surge in COVID-19 cases, and particularly tying these dollars to nursing homes accepting discharges from hospitals back to their facility. The inability of hospitals to return patients to nursing homes has exacerbated the severe capacity challenges facing hospitals across the state as COVD rages on. These resources are intended to help improve the discharge situation, alleviate that congestion and free up much needed capacity, and it will be important to ensure it does.”
WHA will share additional details about the program as soon as they are available. For further information, contact WHA’s Laura Rose
or Laura Leitch