Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced and HHS Urge Hospitals, Physicians, Clinical Laboratories, and all Medicare Providers in Puerto Rico to apply for the CARES Act Provider Relief Funds

(May 20, 2020- Washington, D.C.)– Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced and Officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) urged Puerto Rico’s healthcare sector to act on a vital opportunity to receive much-needed available federal funding to continue fighting the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. The bipartisan CARES Act, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and the Health Care Enhancement Act provide a total of $175 billion in relief funds to hospitals and the healthcare sector that are currently in the front lines battling COVID-19. This funding is essential to support healthcare-related expenses or lost revenue attributable to the virus response. HHS has been actively distributing federal funding, but providers without adequate cost report data on file need to submit their revenue information to the General Distribution Portal icon for additional general distribution funds by June 3. Payments will go out weekly, on a rolling basis, as information is validated.

“We know that many Medicare beneficiaries in Puerto Rico are enrolled in Medicare Advantage, with only approximately 10% of Medicare beneficiaries in the traditional Medicare Fee for Service program.  The Provider Relief Fund under the CARES Act provides support for health care providers including specifically for this kind of scenario, which will be particularly beneficial for health care providers in Puerto Rico. We encourage hospitals, physicians, laboratories, and all Medicare Part A and B providers in Puerto Rico to act on this unique opportunity by applying for support through the Provider Relief Fund,” explained Jim Parker, Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Health Reform and Director of the Office of Health Reform, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 

“We welcome this funding from HHS, which will provide much-needed resources to Puerto Rico’s healthcare sector as the island continues to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. This second tranche of funds provides an opportunity for our hospitals, physicians, clinical laboratories, and medical providers to have access to available federal funding under the CARES Act,” said Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced.“This funding will provide aid to those heroes currently giving their all during this COVID-19 pandemic. To them, we give our thanks for their hard work and commitment during these difficult times. We will continue to ensure their safety as they put their lives on the line to save those affected by this virus.  Please be sure to submit the required information in order to access these critical funds.”

 “HHS has reported that there are 6,079 Medicare providers in Puerto Rico that received an amount from the initial $30 billion, but we know those amounts could be minimal due to the low proportion of Medicare FFS beneficiaries.  The good news is that those 6,079 providers are eligible to get significantly more relief funds if they report to HHS the total revenue, they received from providing care to patients in 2018.”  explained Dr. Lorenzo G. Feliciano, Secretary of Health “We need every hospital and physician to get active and submit the additional information in order to get this crucial help, not just for our health system, but really for our entire economy.”

“These federal funds are an essential part of our recovery and would provide additional tools to bolster our response to this COVID-19 pandemic,” said Jennifer M. Storipan, Esq, Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration.  “PRFAA urges the healthcare sector to use this unique opportunity to ensure hospitals and physicians have access to equipment and resources during this ongoing health crisis. These funds would ensure thousands receive adequate access to quality healthcare. We look forward to continuing our working relationship with Secretary Azar and HHS as we continue to weather this pandemic together.”

HHS has provided specific guidance for this process on the website: The process to submit information for this additional help is easy, and there is a service call center available for any provider that needs help.

 

 

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Published by PRFAA

Official website of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration - Office of the Governor of Puerto Rico in Washington, D.C.

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