The Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday announced the distribution of $15 billion in coronavirus relief funding to Medicaid providers that have not yet received any such payment. 

The additional funding will be distributed to eligible Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program providers, HHS said Tuesday. Additionally, the agency announced that an enhanced portal is available for providers, starting today, that allows them to report their annual patient revenue, which determines their payment amount.

“HHS has already provided relief funding to over one million providers, and today’s announcement is expected to reach several hundred thousand more providers, many of whom are safety net providers operating on thin margins,” the agency explained. 

About 62% of all Medicaid and CHIP providers have received relief funding and this distribution is expected to cover the remaining 38%, according to the agency. 

The funding release comes after lawmakers last week urged the department to quickly distribute COVID-19 relief funding to Medicaid providers following delays.

The American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living applauded the federal government for distributing the additional funding to Medicaid providers. 

“These nursing home, assisted living and intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities urgently need these resources from the federal government to acquire testing, equipment and staffing to protect their residents,” AHCA/NCAL President and CEO Mark Parkinson said. 

In May, in a separate payout, the federal government disbursed $4.9 billion to nursing homes. The funding equates to about $50,000 per facility. That’s a baseline $50k per facility, plus another $2,500 per bed.

In other coronavirus-related news, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced guidance for resuming in-person care options at healthcare facilities as COVID-19 cases decline.

The guidance calls for the optimization of telehealth and that non-emergent, non-COVID care should be offered to patients in facilities that have resources to provide the care. 

“During the height of the pandemic, many healthcare systems and patients postponed non-emergency, in-person care in order to keep patients and providers safe and to ensure capacity to care for COVID-19 patients,” the agency wrote. 

“As states and regions across the United States see a decline in cases of COVID-19, CMS is providing these recommendations to ensure that non-emergency healthcare resumes safely and that patients are receiving needed in-person treatment that may have been postponed due to the public health emergency,” it added. 

The recommendations are specifically for facilities in areas that have reached phase two of the federal government’s reopening guidelines.