April 28, 2020

NM Delegation Hails Over $56 Million from CARES Act for State’s Frontline Health Care Providers

Total New Mexico health care provider funding from CARES Act now $226,368,914 with additional funds expected in coming weeks

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), along with U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) and Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.), announced that 84 New Mexico health care providers received over $56 million to aid in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic as part of continued federal funding. 

The $56,882,782 in funding to the New Mexico providers is just a portion of what is expected to arrive to New Mexico providers from the second wave of funding established by the $100 billion grant program included in the bipartisan CARES Act for direct aid to health care institutions like hospitals that are facing severe financial challenges from the pandemic response. New Mexico has received $226,368,914 of these funds to date, with 1,793 health care providers having received over $170 million in the first wave of funding after passing the CARES Act.

In addition to the $100 billion grant program, the CARES Act’s “Marshall Plan” included funding to replenish the national stockpile of personal protective equipment, drugs, and medical equipment that health care workers need to save lives and protect themselves and others from the spread of the virus and other important activities to help combat the virus. 

Last week, Congress passed an additional interim emergency spending package, in which the New Mexico delegation fought to include an additional $75 billion to hospitals and other health care providers and $25 billion for nationwide testing, including $11 billion in dedicated funding to states and Tribes.   

“Our frontline health care workers in New Mexico continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, which is surging in certain areas of our state,” Udall said. “This continued funding is critical for these brave providers to continue their work. That’s why I fought to enhance this funding. Congress had to act boldly and quickly to make sure the nation’s health care system has the resources to treat COVID-19 patients and to protect health care providers from this disease. But we must do more. I will continue to push for expeditious and fair implementation of the CARES Act to make sure funding and other relief measures get on the ground and to New Mexico communities, and I will keep working for additional resources so that our health care heroes have the resources they need to do their jobs.”

“As communities across New Mexico continue to deal with the deadly impacts of the coronavirus, we must work tirelessly to support a robust public health response, rooted in science, that includes increased capacity for treatment in hospitals and expanded testing to trace and contain the spread of the virus,” said Heinrich. “I welcome this additional funding and will keep fighting to secure more resources for hospitals and health care workers so that they can continue their lifesaving work.”

“Throughout this pandemic, New Mexico’s health care workers and essential personnel have answered the call to bravely serve their communities. This new grant funding will help support their critical efforts in battling the pandemic, and more funding is on the way. Last week, I voted to pass legislation that included $75 billion for our hospitals and health care workers,” said Luján.“Congress must move forward with additional legislation to bolster our health care system and support those on the frontlines of this crisis.”

“No doctor, nurse, or hospital should have to strain to stay healthy or serve families who seek care for coronavirus symptoms or any other reason, but our health care system is broken. I’ve spoken to health care workers and hospitals about how economic stress puts health care workers and patients at risk. The funding that we included in the CARES Act will provide a safety net, so we can get through this pandemic, but in the future, we have to rethink the way our health care system works to better serve doctors, nurses, and patients,” said Haaland.

“Rural healthcare providers are facing unprecedented challenges. The spread of COVID-19 has impacted their revenue—leaving many on the verge of permanent layoffs or closures. This wave of CARES Act funding will provide some urgently needed relief, and will give hospitals the ability to obtain more PPE and testing supplies as well as pay frontline healthcare workers, who are risking their lives every day in order to provide care to their community during this public health crisis.  I’m working side-by-side with our hospitals and community health centers to expedite these payments and make sure funding is dispersed to providers across central and southern New Mexico,” said Torres Small.

Not only do health care providers need the resources to treat patients with COVID-19, but many face severely declining revenues because they aren’t able to undertake elective procedures and other measures that generate the bulk of their revenue. Medical facilities in rural and low-income areas are especially at risk. 

This funding released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) represents around half of the total $20 billion that is expected to go to health care providers.  The funding was allocated based on hospitals and providers 2018 net patient revenue. As more providers provide revenue information to HHS and attest to the terms and conditions, additional funding will be released. Today’s estimate does not reflect payments to hospitals and providers who are part of multi-state health systems that aren’t based in New Mexico, since payments were based on tax identification information, meaning total payments to New Mexico will likely be higher.  

These funds are allocated as direct grants; there is no requirement for repayment. Health care entities that receive funding are expected to be asked to commit not to balance bill COVID patients. Balance billing or surprise billing occurs when patients are asked to cover the cost difference between what was charged and what their insurer agrees to pay. 

The $2 trillion CARES Act is the third relief measure passed by Congress. In March, Congress passed the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, that provided an initial $8.3 billion in emergency funding for state, local government, and Tribal response efforts, and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, that provides for free nationwide testing for COVID-19 and additional sick leave benefits for employees with COVID-19 or who are caring for a person with COVID-19 or children whose school or childcare provider is closed because of COVID-19.