Maryland hospitals and nursing homes receive millions in additional funding for COVID-19 – Baltimore Sun

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Hospitals and skilled nursing facilities in Maryland are receiving millions of dollars in federal funding in the latest round from federal coffers to help pay the cost of the coronavirus pandemic, state health officials announced Friday. State.

The funding totals about $80 million and also includes funds to help insurers pay for Medicare Advantage plans in the state, which have moved away from private health plans for seniors due to cost.

Funding for coronavirus pandemic-related charges for healthcare providers could be the last as the national public health emergency winds down. This statement was first made in January 2020 by the Trump administration and renewed every 90 days since. It was renewed again on Thursday by the Biden administration.

Funds come from the US Federal Rescue Plan Act.

“This additional funding will help further alleviate some of the burdens the COVID-19 pandemic has caused to our hospitals and skilled nursing facilities across the state,” said Dennis R. Schrader, Secretary of State for Health, in a press release. “These funds will especially help facilities support our frontline healthcare heroes, who sacrifice so much every day to keep Marylanders healthy and safe.”

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Hospitals and nursing facilities are each set to receive $25 million under a deal with Maryland General Assembly leaders and Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration.

An additional $30 million will go to Medicare Advantage plans in the state based on the proportion of each plan’s enrollment in Baltimore City and Baltimore County. The funds are intended to help stabilize the market as longer-term solutions are found.

The program became a problem a year ago when Hopkins Health Advantage Inc., a Maryland health insurer affiliated with Johns Hopkins Medicine, dropped all of its customers in the city, as well as Calvert County, while maintaining a coverage in 10 other counties. Other insurers had already exited the market, and another insurer more recently dropped plans in suburban Washington.

These programs are popular across the country because private insurance managers can offer additional services over traditional health insurance and are more like the plans people are already buying. But they’re undersold in Maryland, insurers say, because of a hospital payment system unique to Maryland that aims to cut costs by regulating rates. Insurers cannot negotiate higher payments to cover additional benefits.

As for hospital and nursing costs, they have soared as providers have covered the cost of additional protective equipment, staff, vaccinations, treatment and testing during the pandemic.

“The University of Maryland Medical System is extremely grateful for the Hogan Administration’s continued support to hospitals and the health care industry,” said Dr. Mohan Suntha, President and CEO of the University of Maryland Medical System. University of Maryland, in a statement.

Suntha said the system, the largest in the state, has provided care for more than 27,000 COVID-positive patients since March 2020.

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