Nursing home operators received additional detail on how much control they’ll have over their portion of the $2.5 billion in coronavirus relief funding released to them last week. 

HHS in a statement to McKnight’s Long-Term Care News on Friday said the agency “does not dictate to recipients how they should allocate funds among their nursing home subsidiaries or facilities.” The comments were in response to questions from providers on how operators should allocate the funding among their facilities and if the agency had any criteria providers could use to determine how much each facility should receive. 

The release, dubbed the Nursing Home Infection Control Distribution, is designed to help providers pay for COVID-19 testing, staffing and personal protective equipment, to improve infection control. Eligible nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities will receive a per-facility payment of $10,000 plus a per-bed payment of $1,450 in the first round of this distribution, HHS explained in recently issued FAQs

The department also explained that this distribution can be used only for the infection control expenses as specified in the terms and conditions.  

“These include costs associated with administering COVID-19 testing for both staff and residents; reporting COVID-19 test results to local, state, or federal governments; hiring staff to provide patient care or administrative support; incurring expenses to improve infection control, including activities such as implementing infection control ‘mentorship’ programs with subject matter experts, or changes made to physical facilities; and providing additional services to residents, such as technology that permits residents to connect with their families if the families are not able to visit in person,” HHS said. 

HHS formally announced the release of $2.5 billion in relief funding to nursing homes late last week. The department also released a breakdown on how the $2.5 billion is being distributed among states.

The American Health Care Association in early relief funding requests had called for nursing homes to receive payments based on their size. Under their proposal, facilities with 50 or fewer beds would have received $50,000; 51 to 100 beds would have received $100,000; 101 to 200 beds would have gotten $150,000; and those with more than 200 beds would have received $200,000.