New Half Billion Incentive Payment Distribution to Nursing Homes Coming

Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare

On Monday, December 7, 2020, HHS Secretary Alex Azar announced the distribution of $523 million in second round performance payments to over 9,000 nursing homes. These nursing homes are being rewarded for successfully reducing COVID-19 related infections and deaths between September and October.  Nursing homes will begin receiving payments December 9.

“HHS found that between September and October, of the 13,251 eligible nursing homes, 9,248, or 69 percent, met the incentive program’s infection control criteria. While less than the first cycle, the collective efforts of these nursing homes resulted in over 3,900 fewer infections relative to the rates seen in the communities where they exist. Against the mortality criteria, 9,128, or 68 percent of eligible nursing homes, achieved outcomes that met or exceeded the expected COVID-19 mortality rate for their facility.

This announcement rewards nursing homes for a period in time. HHS recognizes COVID-19 is a fluid challenge and it continues to take a devastating toll on nursing homes stretched thin and disproportionately impacted due in part to factors such as their congregate setting and the existing vulnerabilities of older residents with comorbidities. This new round of incentive payments will bolster the $15 billion already distributed to nursing homes in both Targeted and General Distribution PRF funding. Recipients may use this funding to acquire additional personal protective equipment or other efforts to help slow the spread of COVID-19.”

The Press Release also provides access to state-by-state funding breakdown and a facility-level list of first-round nursing home incentive payment recipients.

“Finally, HHS is reminding all certified nursing homes that free interactive training and mentoring is available through the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to advance COVID-19 preparedness, safety, and infection control.  To date, only half of all U.S. nursing homes have enrolled but registration remains open.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also has a free training program for nursing homes.  These are vital resources nursing homes should employ to combat this pandemic.”