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: 1973308

Reported Deaths: 51350
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings2611819909
Queens2604189526
Suffolk1913793303
Nassau1753923102
Bronx1731096365
New York1303844306
Westchester1245352236
Erie805561689
Richmond698671740
Monroe599441033
Orange45583782
Rockland45345941
Onondaga35576660
Dutchess27616433
Albany23409343
Oneida21291497
Niagara17888332
Broome17175348
Saratoga14222160
Ulster12835241
Schenectady12289192
Rensselaer10526136
Putnam1007991
Chautauqua8256132
Chemung7068133
Oswego690990
Ontario676591
Steuben6212141
St. Lawrence613794
Sullivan603268
Cayuga581090
Jefferson540863
Wayne515467
Cattaraugus506880
Genesee5014121
Herkimer4883107
Clinton447232
Madison425785
Tompkins401949
Fulton399786
Livingston394358
Montgomery3842114
Columbia380399
Cortland351560
Warren333756
Tioga333358
Wyoming321751
Allegany314183
Otsego313646
Greene308174
Chenango303173
Washington281355
Orleans271683
Lewis242333
Franklin237512
Delaware211936
Seneca185356
Schoharie152015
Essex148926
Yates109826
Schuyler97913
Hamilton3002
Unassigned184111
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