Better Solutions for Healthcare

Axios Vitals: Health care bailout fund reaches $175 billion

Hospitals, doctors’ practices and other health care providers are getting another $75 billion in taxpayer money to cover the fallout of the coronavirus outbreak, bringing the total pot of bailout funds to $175 billion, Axios’ Bob Herman reports.

The big picture: The first $30 billion has been dispersed to providers based on Medicare billings, which raised the ire of hospitals that treat higher amounts of poor patients and children.

  • The federal government has said the next “targeted distributions” will go to providers in COVID-19 hotspots, rural hospitals and groups that predominantly treat Medicaid patients.

Where it stands: Elective procedures and appointments — and the large amounts of revenue associated with them — have dramatically decreased while providers prepared for the surge of coronavirus patients and bought more protective gear for workers.

Between the lines: Critics have questioned whether federal officials are distributing the funds appropriately, and now the government will oversee even more cash.

  • Small doctors’ groups, rural providers and safety net facilities have said the money is life-or-death for them, but they aren’t getting proportionate amounts.
  • Meanwhile, Envision Healthcare, the private-equity-backed physician staffing firm that has become synonymous with surprise billing, has received sizable taxpayer help even as the company cuts doctors’ pay and considers bankruptcy.