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Provisions Affecting Health Care Providers in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 Provisions Affecting Health Care Providers in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

Provisions Affecting Health Care Providers in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

On the one-year anniversary of the World Health Organization declaring the COVID-19 public health crisis a global pandemic, the American Rescue Plan Act (“ARPA”) was signed into law by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. The ARPA is an economic stimulus plan enacted to provide eligible Americans with much needed relief from the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic (the “Pandemic”) and to steer the nation out of its current recession. ARPA is largely an augmentation of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act of 2020 (also known as the CARES Act) and the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020, but also contains novel provisions of its own.  

The ARPA will impact the health care industry by apportioning a substantial amount of the total $1.9 trillion in relief funds to mitigate the effects of and provide support for responses to the Pandemic. In fact, almost $75B has been allocated under the ARPA to the health care industry in one form or another. The plans and activities generally include reimbursing eligible health care facilities for lost revenues; investing in state, local, and territorial public health workforces; and making grants eligible to public health departments. More specifically, the ARPA includes funding for the following:
 
  • Emergency rural development grants for facilities that primarily provide services in rural areas serving low income individuals. The grants are designed to assist in covering costs associated with increasing vaccine distribution capacity; providing supplies to increase medical surge capacity; reimbursing for lost revenue; increasing telehealth capabilities and supporting staffing needs for vaccine administration and testing.
  • COVID-19 vaccine activities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), including activities to plan, prepare for, promote, distribute, administer, monitor, and track COVID–19 vaccines and vaccinations. An additional $1B is provided to the CDC to use in strengthening “vaccine confidence” via information and education. CDC will also receive over $6B to be applied to expenses related to research, development, manufacturing, production, and the purchase of vaccines, therapeutics, and ancillary medical products and supplies to prevent, prepare, or respond to COVID-19, viral mutations with pandemic potential or any disease with the potential to create a pandemic.
  • Food and Drug Administration activities related to the support of supply chains of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and medical supplies.
  • Activities by the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) to detect, diagnose, trace, and monitor COVID -19 infections and implement strategies to mitigate the spread of infections. Designated activities are to include the implementation of a national, evidence-based strategy for testing, contact tracing, surveillance and overall mitigation of COVID-19; the provision of technical assistance and support to state, local, and territorial public health departments for COVID-19 detection, diagnosis, testing, and monitoring activities; and the support of supply chain logistics.
  • Global health initiatives to be undertaken by the CDC, such as for sequencing and surveilling the COVID-19 virus’ genome; global disease detection and response, immunization, and public health coordination activities; and public health data surveillance and analytics infrastructure.
  • Public health activities by HHS that are related to establishing, expanding, and sustaining a public health workforce, including the granting of awards to state, local, and territorial public health departments to establish, expand, and sustain their public health workforces.
  • The treatment and prevention of mental health and substance abuse disorders, including funds for mental health and substance abuse training for health care professionals and public safety officers, and community-based funding for local behavioral health and substance abuse disorder services.
  • Allocations to nursing facilities for COVID -19 infection control and vaccination uptake support. Additional funds will be provided to states to assist in creating “strike teams” for deployment to skilled nursing facilities with diagnosed or suspected cases of COVID–19 among residents or staff to assist with clinical care, infection control, or staffing.
  • The ARPA also makes certain changes to the Medicaid and CHIP programs related to COVID-19, such as broadening vaccine eligibility and treatment availability to certain uninsured individuals and requiring state Medicaid and CHIP programs to cover vaccines and COVID treatment without cost-sharing obligations. States are also provided the option to allow women enrolled in Medicaid to remain eligible for full Medicaid coverage for 12 months after the birth of a child, instead of the previous 60 days.
If you have any questions about the ARPA, your eligibility to receive funds, or how it could affect you, please contact Kevin Woodhouse at Kevin.Woodhouse@icemiller.com, Taryn Stone at Taryn.Stone@icemiller.com, Margaret Emmert at Margaret.Emmert@icemiller.com, or Jacob Butz at Jacob.Butz@icemiller.com.

This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The reader should consult with legal counsel to determine how laws or decisions discussed herein apply to the reader’s specific circumstances.
 
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