WASHINGTON — The federal health department shut down a program that paid hospitals and clinics for caring for uninsured Covid-19 patients, but some hospitals are now eyeing a backdoor option to get those costs paid for.
Throughout much of the pandemic, the costs of testing, vaccinating, and treating uninsured patients were mostly funneled to a multi-billion-dollar program run by the Health Resources and Services Administration, but that program ran out of money and shut down in April. The program paid out more than $1 billion per month, which means its closure was a big hit for some facilities that serve large numbers of uninsured patients.
Now some hospitals and the external experts they employ are looking to squeeze every last available dollar from dwindling federal assistance funds. They’re beginning to float the idea that the costs of caring for uninsured patients could be paid for through the Federal Emergency Management Agency instead.
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