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New York hospitals feel shortchanged on federal aid

New York is the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in...

Posted: Apr 17, 2020 11:10 AM

New York is the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the US.

But while the state's hospitals were overflowing with coronavirus patients, they didn't get special priority in an initial round of federal funding to help health care facilities combat the outbreak, sparking complaints from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, state lawmakers and hospital officials.

The Trump administration last week began distributing a $100 billion fund set up by Congress to compensate hospitals for higher expenses and lost revenue battling the virus. However, the first $30 billion was doled out based on prior Medicare reimbursements, not the share of coronavirus patients -- which means New York and other hard-hit areas didn't get an extra boost when they needed it most.

New York hospitals' allotment is estimated at about $970 million, according to Ken Raske, president of the Greater New York Hospital Association. It should have been "at least six times that amount," said Raske. He complained to the White House, but received no promises for future funding.

"New York hospitals have turned themselves upside down and inside out to battle Covid-19," said Raske, noting that each of the five major New York City metro area hospital systems are spending up to $450 million a month to treat coronavirus patients. "We're losing our shirts."

Cuomo also lashed out earlier this week, pointing to a Kaiser Health News analysis that found New York would receive only $12,000 per case, while Minnesota, Nebraska and Montana, which have not been as affected, are each getting more than $300,000 per case.

"How can that be?," said Cuomo, who has also complained about the share of federal aid the state government will receive from Congress' $2 trillion relief package.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, along with Democratic Sens. Patty Murray of Washington and Ron Wyden of Oregon, wrote a letter this week to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar urging him to distribute the remaining funds to areas hardest hit by the coronavirus.

That followed a letter last week from a bipartisan group of New York representatives to Azar and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma asking them to reconsider their decision to allocate the initial $30 billion based on Medicare billing.

The formula allowed the agency to get the money out the door quickly, Verma said Wednesday. She promised the next tranche would go both to providers like those in New York that have significantly higher expenditures and to those who've lost revenue because elective surgeries and other visits have been curtailed.

"There will be a specific portion of funds for providers in hotspots," said Verma, who declined to provide more details.

The next allotment of money should go by the end of this week, she said.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2506247

Reported Deaths: 55965
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings33129910834
Queens31382710273
Suffolk2383183590
Nassau2136033286
Bronx2067916745
New York1674924632
Westchester1433882338
Erie1054771938
Richmond882931930
Monroe835191180
Orange57192909
Rockland52859779
Onondaga51456755
Dutchess35411497
Albany30510386
Oneida28347582
Broome24121403
Niagara23795397
Saratoga20034197
Ulster17179277
Schenectady16525227
Rensselaer14618167
Putnam1242096
Chautauqua12281172
Oswego11449112
Chemung10740153
St. Lawrence10354124
Steuben9972173
Ontario9244110
Jefferson867574
Cayuga8582107
Sullivan839483
Wayne801884
Cattaraugus7586112
Genesee6904132
Herkimer6671125
Clinton663138
Tompkins646359
Fulton6228102
Madison6092102
Montgomery5865138
Livingston564971
Warren537181
Cortland528479
Tioga501271
Columbia4966111
Chenango463586
Allegany454296
Washington453367
Otsego452654
Greene434286
Wyoming433657
Orleans428087
Franklin417920
Lewis355038
Delaware350747
Seneca271663
Schoharie227221
Essex224531
Yates158827
Schuyler151317
Hamilton4343
Unassigned14424
Out of NY0310
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