Provider Distributions Under the CARES Act: Where Did the First $26 Billion Go?


In an effort to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) which included $100 billion in distributions to hospitals, medical groups, and other eligible healthcare providers. According to HHS, $50 billion of the Provider Relief Fund is allocated for general distribution to Medicare facilities and providers impacted by COVID-19, based on eligible providers' 2018 net patient revenue. On April 10, 2020, $26 billion of this amount was distributed to providers' bank accounts. Given the accelerated timeline, providers received a pro-rata share of the distributed amount based on their share of Medicare fee-for-service reimbursements in 2019.

Providers who receive funds from the general distribution have to sign an attestation confirming receipt of funds and agree to the terms and conditions of payment. A link to a database of attested providers, and the amounts received, is available on the CDC website.

To better understand how provider distributions were made, we analyzed the data. To be expected, the initial distributions totaling approximately $26 billion were heavily skewed on a per-provider basis. The smallest distribution per provider was $1. The largest was $180,264,488.

Minimum - $1

25th Percentile - $2,058

Median - $9,742

75th Percentile - $42,479

Maximum - $180,264,488

Mean - $163,087

Standard Deviation - $1,545,471

On a state-by-state basis, California had the largest number of attested providers and the largest total payments. The following two tables show the top 10 states in these categories. Notice that the top 10 states for total number of providers differ from the top 10 states for total payments.

The following table shows the top 10 states or territories for money per person (based on current population data). Some of the least populous states with low numbers of providers are at the top of the list.

Finally, the table below lists the top 10 states for money per confirmed COVID-19 case (as of May 13, 2020). Several of the top states have very low confirmed cases per 100,000 residents.

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