Image of nurses' hands at computer keyboard

The next round of coronavirus relief fund payments to nursing homes will be based on facility performance in an effort to ensure better outcomes, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday.

The relief funding is part of the additional $5 billion for providers announced by the Trump administration in late July. The latest funding round will provide about $2.5 billion upfront to pay for increased testing, staffing and personal protective equipment needs for nursing homes. It also will include support for providers establishing COVID isolation facilities.

The distribution of the initial $2.5 billion will happen in mid-August. 

The rest of the funding is being linked to nursing home performance, the agency explained. Through that evaluation, HHS will consider prevalence of the virus in a nursing home’s surrounding community, the facility’s ability to minimize the spread of the disease in its building and COVID-related deaths among its residents. 

The agency hopes it will serve as an “effective means” to hold nursing homes accountable, stimulate innovations and find new resources and expertise for infection control. 

“By linking these funds to performance in controlling COVID-19, we are providing powerful tools and incentives for nursing homes to better protect their residents from the virus,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement.