Congress passed the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act, President Trump signed the bill on December 27, 2020. The legislation includes $1.4 trillion in funding for federal fiscal year 2021 and roughly $9 billion in COVID-19 relief.
The legislation includes changes to Provider Relief Fund (PRF) reporting guidelines. As requested by the American Hospital Association (AHA) and SDAHO, the legislation allows providers to calculate lost revenues using the original Frequently Asked Questions guidance released by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in June 2020, allowing providers to use “any reasonable method” for calculation of lost revenue. The legislation clarifies that methods including the difference between budgeted and actual revenue may be used if the budget was established and approved prior to March 27, 2020. The legislation also clarifies that health systems may move all PRF distributions within their system. A parent organization may allocate any or all of a subsidiary organizations’ PRF payments, including targeted distributions. The legislation also includes an additional $3 billion in new PRF dollars.
The legislation provides $3 billion in increased payments for Medicare Physician Services under the 2021 Physician Fee Schedule. The legislation also eliminates Medicare sequester cuts for he first three months of 2021. Prior to this legislation, the 2% Medicare sequester was set to resume on January 1, 2021.
$30 billion was appropriated to the federal government to assist with the purchase and administration of COVID-19 vaccines and COVID-19 therapeutics, including appropriations to the CDC, states and territories, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, and procurement of supplies to the Strategic National Stockpile.
$22 billion will be sent directly to states for testing, tracing, and COVID-19 mitigation programs, including $2.5 billion for efforts targeted towards improving testing and contact tracing in underserved populations.
The legislation also provides $1.25 billion to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support research and clinical trials related to the long term effects of COVID-19 and extends the availability of funds provided to states and localities by the Coronavirus Relief Fund through December 2021.
An AHA Special Bulletin on the Health Provisions in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 is available on the AHA website.
Click here to view the full text of the legislation.