The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and. Economic Security Act (CARES) Act was created to provide emergency assistance and healthcare response for individuals, families and businesses affected by the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic, especially the locations currently hit the hardest by COVID-19.
This is why Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., along with Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, are leading the state’s Congressional Delegation in calling upon the Trump Administration to distribute more expedited support under the act for frontline New Jersey healthcare providers.
The New Jersey lawmakers in their letter to Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma is urging HHS to ensure the next stage of funding prioritizes the areas of the country with the highest number of COVID-19 cases.
“Hospitals and health care providers in New Jersey are on the frontline of this nation’s pandemic response,” the lawmakers stated in their letter. “As such, our hospitals and healthcare providers have had to cease their routine work and have lost revenue while sustaining high levels of COVID-19-related costs. This has left them in dire financial straits even as they continue to be central to the COVID-19 response.”
The state is the second most impacted state with 71,030 positive cases, 8,270 hospitalized cases and 3,156 deaths as of April 15
The lawmakers were disappointed with the process in which the $100 billion of CARES Act money was being dispensed by the HHS, and felt that they had “failed to consider Congressional intent in distributing the first tranche of funding.”
Additionally, the lawmakers expressed their concerns that by considering only Medicare Part A and B claims data and using current Medicare rates, the Administration is “punishing hospitals that see high volumes of Medicaid and uninsured patients.”
HHS did recently release about $1.2 million to enhance the efforts of the New Jersey Hospital Association’s Hospital Preparedness Program.
“This funding will help ensure our state’s healthcare system can treat patients suffering from COVID-19,” Menendez responded. “I’ll continue fighting for the resources and federal funding our hospitals need to battle the outbreak.”
Sen. Booker was appreciative of the department’s response as well, noting health care professionals have worked tirelessly to contain the spread of this virus and protect the health and safety of all New Jerseyans.
“This federal funding will help New Jersey hospitals and other health systems continue to prepare for and respond to this public health crisis,” said Booker.