Senators Markey & Warren Want Trump Administration To Meet Massachusetts’ Needs and Ensure Equity & Transparency in Hospital & Health Care Provider Relief Funds

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The following is a media release from Sen. Ed Markey and Sen Elizabeth Warren’s offices. Both were elected by voters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to serve the state in Washington DC in the US Senate. Both are Democrats.

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BOSTON – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Thursday called on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to meet Massachusetts’ needs in subsequent disbursements from the Provider Relief Fund, which includes $100 billion in funding to support health care providers during the coronavirus pandemic.

HHS has distributed an initial $30 billion from the Fund – which was created by Congress in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act – based on providers’ 2019 Medicare receipts. The Senators commend the transparent disbursement of the initial round of funding and are calling on HHS to issue subsequent rounds of funding in ways that better account for Massachusetts providers.

Even though Massachusetts represents 4.7 percent of all COVID-19 cases nationwide, it only received 2.8 percent of the initial distribution of $30 billion. Additionally, states such as Minnesota, Nebraska, and West Virginia received more than $300,000 per reported COVID-19 case, while Massachusetts only received $44,000 per reported case.

Senators Markey and Warren are calling on HHS to provide additional funds to states disproportionately impacted by coronavirus – so-called “hot spots” – as well as health care providers left out of the initial disbursements from the Provider Relief Fund.

These health care providers include providers with large Medicaid and Medicare advantage populations, provider types for whom Medicare is a smaller portion of their revenue, and providers and facilities for whom 2019 Medicare revenues do not represent normal patient volumes.

“As HHS works to fully implement the Provider Relief Fund, we urge you to prioritize funds for health care facilities, providers, and other medical workers not adequately accounted for in the initial disbursement — in particular, in states such as Massachusetts that have the most COVID-19 cases per capita,” write Senators Markey and Warren in their letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “We are encouraged by HHS’s transparency in the initial round of disbursements. Moving away from objective criteria to distributing funds by political influence or electoral significance is unacceptable.”

A copy of the letter can be found HERE.

Senators Markey and Warren also requested HHS to provide more information about how it plans to allocate remaining provider relief funds, including how it plans to identify “hot spots,” how it plans to provide assistance to providers unaccounted for in the initial disbursement, how HHS plans to account for racial and ethnic disparities in fund allocations, and how HHS plans to provide transparency with respect to the Provider Relief Fund.

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