News release

For immediate release
Saturday, March 28, 2020

State, federal government pushes funding to hospitals to support COVID-19 response

OLYMPIA – To support hospitals in preparing for an expected increase in COVID-19-related expenses, state and federal funding is being made available.

“Our hospitals—particularly smaller and rural hospitals—provide a safety net for vulnerable populations, and we must ensure they remain financially viable as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said HCA Director Sue Birch. “As they are asked to delay elective procedures and experience other unprecedented disruption to their work force and their operations, we continue thinking creatively about how we can provide the resources they need to serve Washingtonians with high-quality, dependable care.”

The dollars HCA is making available are either new funds or expedited existing funds, and include:

  • Pay remaining fiscal year disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments for qualifying public hospitals, and eligible low-income and small rural hospitals. This expedites more than $46 million in funding to hospitals throughout the state.
  • Pay remaining Critical Access Hospital Safety Net Assessment payments for state fiscal year 2020. This accelerates more than $2 million in state hospital safety net funding to 19 critical hospitals. Critical Access Hospitals are small hospitals in rural areas that serve residents that would otherwise be a long distance from emergency care.

In addition, Washington State worked with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to design an expansion of its accelerated/advance payment program for Medicare participating health care providers and suppliers, such as hospitals.  CMS is expanding the program for all Medicare providers throughout the country during the public health emergency related to COVID-19.  The payments can be requested by hospitals, doctors, durable medical equipment suppliers and other Medicare Part A and Part B providers and suppliers.