CDC funds healthcare systems following guidance to stop any non-essential visits

Published: Apr. 23, 2020 at 8:30 PM CDT
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Many health care facilities are struggling financially following CDC guidance to stop non-essential visits and surgeries.

The state has received more than $1 billion from a federal relief fund to help with general coronavirus response efforts, $91 million to reimburse expenses and lost revenue to hospitals and providers, and additional funding to get more personal protective equipment and assist with diagnostic efforts.

These efforts offered the healthcare industry temporary security, but some institutions say they may still need more to stay afloat during the pandemic.

Cancelling non-emergency visits has been essential for protecting patients and staff. But healthcare professionals say they still want to reach every patient who needs them.

"Our goal is how do we serve people in the community and keep them out of the hospitals," says Community HealthCare Association of the Dakotas Chief Executive Officer Shelly Ten Napel.

Ten Napel says while telehealth and behavioral health are at full operation, other medical service revenues have been cut in half.

U.S. Health and Human Services Department leaders say they're trying to accommodate every health industry in a more efficient way, they're just trying to find it.

"Our biggest challenge, frankly, is one of tactics and operations. We do not have an easily available mechanism for distributing funds across the entirety of U.S. healthcare," says Director of the Office of Health Reform Jim Parker.

Parker says they're not holding any funds back, just looking for who's most in need.

In the meantime, Centers for Disease Control leaders have distributed $5 million to help healthcare systems and enhance testing in North Dakota.

Lawmakers say they're pushing for the next phase of CARES Act funding to be directed towards rural hospitals, cities hit especially hard by the pandemic, and underrepresented people.