Pandemic relief funds were unevenly distributed, didn’t account for community burden: Health Affairs

Dive Temporary:

  • Federal pandemic reduction funds allotted to hospitals have been erratically distributed and fell brief in some communities with the very best burden, in response to a report revealed Wednesday in Well being Affairs.
  • Researchers analyzed HHS information on the supplier reduction fund created by the Coronavirus Assist, Aid, and Financial Safety Act and located hospitals serving very low shares of sufferers with employer-sponsored insurance coverage acquired decrease funding. In addition they discovered that hospitals serving a really excessive share of Hispanic residents or these in a medically underserved space have been related to decreased funding or no distinction in funding.
  • Some allocations have been made primarily based on real-world want, however “the connection between want and help ought to be strengthened by deemphasizing historic web affected person income in favor of a broader set of group and hospital traits,” the report’s authors wrote.

Dive Perception:

Distribution strategies for the supplier reduction fund have been controversial since Congress initially allotted $178 billion to prop up suppliers in March 2020.

Preliminary issues centered round main well being methods capturing hefty shares of the funds, although HHS later tried to appropriate the difficulty by focusing different tranches on hospitals with giant shares of Medicaid sufferers, or sufferers with low incomes.

Sure communities have been hit a lot more durable by the virus, together with Black and Hispanic People who’ve been hospitalized for the virus at a lot greater charges than different teams, in response to information from the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.

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Well being Affairs researchers checked out HHS data on 2,709 hospitals and located some correlations between real-world want and the way the cash was distributed, although the outcomes have been principally combined.

Via early February 2021, hospitals on common acquired $25.7 million in pandemic reduction grants, in response to the report.

Hospitals serving communities with a really excessive share of Black residents, or these having a really excessive ratio of Medicaid income to beds, have been related to meaningfully elevated funding. And having a really excessive variety of nursing house beds locally, or a really excessive quantity of income from Medicaid per mattress, was related to meaningfully elevated funding, the analysis confirmed.

However another metrics that show better want for reduction did not lead to elevated funding, the report discovered.

Hospitals serving a really excessive share of Hispanic residents have been related to decreased funding or no distinction in funding, as have been these in a medically underserved space, the report discovered. And hospitals serving very low shares of individuals with employer-sponsored insurance coverage have been related to decrease funding.

The findings come as a few of the funds nonetheless stays undistributed. The American Hospital Affiliation urged HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra in an Aug. 17 letter to expeditiously distribute greater than $40 billion nonetheless remaining, and for HHS to distribute the $8.5 billion allotted within the America Rescue Plan for rural suppliers.

AHA additionally requested earlier this 12 months for extra flexibility and prolonged deadlines for utilizing the funds.

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