CMS releases CARES funds

What's in your agency bank account? Direct deposit of CARES Act funding is underway During the holiday weekend traditionally observed by decorating and hunting Easter eggs, many home care providers discovered a surprise “nest egg” in their bank accounts – the first direct deposit from approximately $30 billion to be distributed among them under the Coronavirus Aid and Relief Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Direct bank deposits are expected to continue this week for home care providers who received fee-for-service reimbursements from Medicare in 2019.

If your agency did not receive a deposit, it is likely to appear this week, but it is unclear how long it will take the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS) to complete all direct deposits.

“This emergency funding is critically important for providers who are facing enormous financial uncertainty right now,” said J’non Griffin, owner and president of Home Health Solutions, a nationwide outsourcing and consulting firm for home health, hospice and long-term care.

The CARES Act allocated the emergency funds to help health care providers meet escalating and unanticipated costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Home health agencies have scrambled to purchase gloves, masks and other PPE, or personal protective equipment, as they prepare for an influx of patients. Fielding adequate staff has been an additional challenge as nationwide shutdowns of schools and workplaces create personnel issues.

These and other extra expenses are occurring at a time when many agencies are also experiencing significant declines in their patient census. Numbers are dropping due to cancellations of elective surgeries such as knee or hip replacements, new rules limit who can provide services to patients in assisted living facilities, and patients are scared to allow home health workers into their homes due to the risk of infection.

“Agencies really need this funding,” J’non said.

The amount of the direct deposit is not the same across the board. How much a provider receives will be determined by the provider’s 2019 Medicare revenue.

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