Windfall for Nursing Homes
HHS announced $5 billion in targeted funding for nursing homes in May. Then another $5 billion opportunity in August. Operators got $2.5 billion in early September to pay expenses related to COVID-19. Now McKnight’s reports that the Trump Administration will provide another $333 million for bonus payments. The corporate welfare will be sent next week. No mention of using the money for increased staffing, testing or PPE!
10,631 nursing homes or more than 77% of the 13,795 eligible received a bonus. The payment structure rewards nursing homes that reduce COVID-19 infection and mortality rates among residents as analyzed against CDC data.
Overall, the recognized nursing homes “contributed to 5,000 fewer COVID-19 infections in nursing homes” in September than in August, officials said. In addition, against both the infection control and mortality criteria, 10,501 nursing homes (76%) qualified for payments and contributed to 1,200 fewer COVID-19 related nursing home deaths between August and September.
“These $333 million in performance payments are going to nursing homes that have maintained safer environments for residents between August and September,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “We’ve provided nursing homes with resources and training to improve infection control, and we’re rapidly providing incentives to those facilities that are making progress in the fight against COVID-19.”
Officials originally announced $2 billion was dedicated to the plan. The payments divided into five performance cycles. Facilities will have four more chances to earn bonuses.
“Today’s announcement illustrates how complementing relief payments with outcome-based payments help to yield positive results in improving quality and infection control in nursing homes,” the HHS announcement said.
Nursing home residents continue to be vulnerable to this pandemic. Residents and caregivers need help and protection.