Pandemic Support for North Carolina Hospitals

| May 11, 2020

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Written by James Coleman

 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, House Bill 1043 (The Pandemic Response Act) and Senate Bill 704 (The COVID-19 Recovery Act) were passed by the North Carolina House and Senate on May 2, and signed into law by Governor Cooper on May 4. These bills appropriate almost $1.6 billion in federal funds from the CARES Act to provide financial relief related to public health and safety, educational needs, small business assistance, and continuity of state government operations.

 

Included among the relief measures in HB 1043 is millions in critical financial aid to North Carolina hospitals to offset expenses incurred for providing patient care in North Carolina to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Below is a breakdown of funds appropriated to North Carolina hospitals:

  • $65 million to the North Carolina Office of State Budget and Management (OSBM) to establish the COVID-19 Rural Hospitals Relief Fund
    • The funds will be provided to hospitals designated as critical access hospitals by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and to hospitals located in a Tier 1 county or a Tier 2 county with a population of less than 150,000
  • $15 million to OSBM to establish the COVID-19 Teaching Hospitals Relief Fund
    • These funds will be provided to the five hospitals in North Carolina designated as teaching hospitals by CMS: Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Duke University Hospital, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Medical Center, Vidant Medical Center, and Central Harnett Hospital
    • The purpose of these funds will be to offset expenses incurred for providing patient care in North Carolina to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic
    • Each of the recipient hospitals will receive $3 million from the fund
  • $15 million to OSBM to establish the COVID-19 General Hospitals Relief Fund
    • These funds will be provided to North Carolina hospitals not eligible for the COVID-19 Rural Hospitals Relief or COVID-19 Teaching Hospitals Relief

 

Monies from the three funds can be used for the following purposes:

  • Up to 60% of lost revenues from foregone elective procedures during the emergency period
  • Supplies and equipment purchased in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines
  • Rapidly ramping up infection control and triage training for health care professionals
  • Retrofitting separate areas to screen and treat patients with suspected COVID-19 infections, including isolation areas in or around hospital emergency departments
  • Increasing the number of patient care beds to provide surge capacity
  • Transporting patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 safely to or from rural facilities
  • Planning, training, and implementing expanded telehealth capabilities
  • Procuring staff or consultants to help mitigate the burden of extensive review of new and incoming federal and state regulatory guidelines
  • Salary support for furloughed employees