Congress reaches deal that includes $75B for hospitals after requests from providers

Congressional and White House leaders have reached a deal to provide $75 billion for hospitals and another $25 billion for testing, according to a report from CNN.

The funding, which is expected to pass Congress this week and got an endorsement from President Donald Trump, is part of a $484 billion package that would also replenish a small business loan program.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on CNN that the Senate could vote on the package, the text of which hasn’t been released, as early as Tuesday.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer tweeted that the House could vote as early as Thursday on the package.

Other parts of the funding package include:

  • $600 million in grants to health centers
  • $225 million in additional funding for COVID-19 testing and related expenses to rural health clinics. The funding can also be used to create temporary structures to increase capacity for testing
  • $1 billion for covering the cost of testing for the uninsured
  • $6 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General to use on oversight activities
  • $11 billion to states and localities to purchase and administer COVID-19 tests and to scale up lab capacity

Hospital groups, who have been pleading with Congress for another round of funding, cheered the deal. 

"The act will help assure that hospitals can respond to the virus as well as to other, non-COVID patients, particularly when scheduled procedures come back online," said Chip Khan, CEO of the Federation of American Hospitals. "The act’s dedicated funding for testing is another important step toward ensuring patient and staff safety and enabling the resumption of elective procedures."

The American Hospital Association also cheered the addition of funding to the payroll protection program to help smaller hospitals "meet payroll and other operating costs through forgivable loans," CEO Rick Pollack said in a statement.

Major hospital systems have been forced to furlough and lay off workers due to low patient volume and the cancellation of elective procedures.

Congress did include $100 billion for hospitals in an economic stimulus package passed a few weeks ago.

The Trump administration has dispersed about $30 billion of that package to hospitals based on historical Medicare spending. Another round of funding is expected to be rolled out that's more targeted at COVID-19 hot spots and providers that don’t traditionally rely on Medicare.