The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) revealed in a press release in May 2020 that it will be disbursing $4.9 billion in relief funds to qualified skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) throughout the country to aid in COVID-19 relief efforts. The $4.9 billion allocation is in addition to $175 billion that have already been distributed to the healthcare industry as part of the CARES Act, the Paycheck Protection Program, and the Health Care Enhancement Act.
While the coronavirus pandemic has been devastating for virtually all industries, the nursing home industry has been hit particularly hard. The need for additional financial resources for SNFs is greater than ever, and many SNFs are struggling to stay financially solvent during the SARS-CoV-2 viral pandemic.
As the largest wound care specialty group in the country, Vohra Wound Physicians recognizes the value of these funds to Skilled Nursing Facilities and presents a solution with its Dressings Delivery Program, whereby SNFs are able to provide wound dressings to many SNF patients under covered Medicare benefits.
Editor’s Note: Vohra Wound Physicians would like to offer your facility a complimentary 15-minute wound care consultation to discuss how we can help reduce operating costs, prevent hospitalizations, and reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure by managing patients in-house – all at no cost to you. Schedule a Free Wound Care Consultation for your SNF Now.
The Significance of the HHS Funds for Skilled Nursing Facilities
Post COVID-19, SNF occupancy rates have dropped by an estimated 6 percent, according to the release, as many families are electing to withdraw their loved ones from these facilities in favor of alternative care. Loss of life due to the virus is also contributing to the decline. The HHS funds are critical in light of the dramatic decrease in numbers and increased need for support resources in SNFs. The $4.9 billion will allow SNFs to invest in their facilities by maintaining employees and purchasing critical equipment to support in combatting the virus.
On the heels of the HHS disbursement, Vohra urges facilities to take advantage of its Dressings Delivery Program (DDP). With funds so limited and the need for additional financial resources in SNFs so high, reducing out-of-pocket expenses is critical. Vohra’s DDP program provides a wound dressings solution where physician-prescribed dressings are delivered directly to the bedside of qualifying Medicare Part B patients.
Wound Care for SNFs
Who qualifies for the HHS funds?
Inclusion in this program is straightforward, and many SNFs will qualify automatically. To receive this funding, SNFs must have a minimum of six certified beds. Certification is mandatory for receipt of these funds. Certification implies that facilities have met compliance standards to ensure the safety and wellbeing of residents. Upon verification, SNFs will be able to receive their funds. Each SNF will be provided with a fixed minimum of $50,000 and, in addition to this fixed rate, they will also receive an additional distribution of $2,500 per bed.
SNFs will be required to apply these funds to approved uses only. SNFs that receive these funds will need to attest that they will be using the funds to help “prevent, prepare for, and respond to” coronavirus. SNFs will also need to demonstrate that they have been proactive in testing, treating, and preventing COVID-19 at their facility. The funds must not be used to pay off debts that have already received funds from other sources. Recipients of these resources will be subject to audit and will need to consent to submitting receipts and other documentation to prove that funds were only applied to approved uses.
The high cost of quality care
The funds from this allocation can be used in a variety of ways to provide an extra level of protection from the virus for residents and healthcare workers. The HHS funds can help SNFs remain operational by providing facilities with funds to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE), hire additional healthcare workers and increase testing and infection control methods for COVID-19.
Vohra’s Dressings Delivery Program aims to help facilities improve the quality of patient care by presenting an efficient solution to sourcing and delivering the physician-prescribed wound dressings that their patients need. Skilled Nursing Facilities interested in learning more about Vohra’s Dressings Program are invited to reach out to us for more information.