New York Congressional Delegation Calls for HHS, CMS to Prioritize COVID-19 “Hot Spots”

April 15, 2020

Twenty-five House of Representatives members from New York State and Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) are urging Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma to “prioritize funding for New York and other hot spots” when allocating Federal COVID-19 funding to health care providers.

In a bipartisan, bicameral letter (see attached) strongly supported by GNYHA, the New York delegation notes that the initial $30 billion disbursement from the $100 billion “Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund” in the CARES Act did not address the needs of the facilities treating COVID-19 patients. With multiple disbursements of Federal COVID-19 funds expected in the near future, it is imperative that HHS and CMS alter their allocation plan. Quite simply, funding should follow the COVID-19 patients.

GNYHA is extremely grateful to Representatives Tom Suozzi (D-NY), Peter King (R-NY), and Eliot Engel (D-NY) for championing the letter.

The initial $30 billion allocation was based solely on a provider’s share of 2019 Medicare fee-for-service reimbursements and did not account for any COVID-19-related circumstances—thus failing to deliver adequate relief to New York City-area hospitals at the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis. The Suozzi-King-Engel letter urges Secretary Azar and Administrator Verma to allocate funds to the states “based on their share of national COVID-19 infections.”

Representatives Suozzi, King, and Engel also circulated a letter to HHS and CMS last week warning that their flawed methodology would result in a lack of funding to the providers that need it most. Twenty-five members of the New York Congressional delegation signed on to that letter.

GNYHA will remain extremely engaged on this issue. Please contact your members of Congress and the Trump Administration to emphasize the need for additional Federal funds and an improved funding methodology for frontline hospitals.

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