Hoeven Working to Support North Dakota Health Care Providers in Fight Against COVID-19, Outlines CARES Act Assistance

Senator Hosts HHS, FDA, CMS & FEMA Officials in Call with State’s Health Care Groups

BISMARCK, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today brought together North Dakota health care providers and administration officials to discuss the assistance passed by Congress to support efforts to combat COVID-19 as well as administrative actions put in place to assist health care providers as they address the pandemic. This includes the following programs under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which the senator outlined to the state’s health care leaders:

  • $150 billion for the Coronavirus Relief Fund.
    • North Dakota will receive at least $1.25 billion from this program to support the state’s pandemic response.
    • $8 billion of the fund is set aside for tribal governments.
  • $100 billion to reimburse hospitals and health care providers for expenses or lost revenue due to COVID-19.
    • The first tranche of payments under this fund went out to North Dakota providers,who received $91 million earlier this month. Hoeven is working with the administration to advance the next tranche as soon as possible and ensure it includes a focus on rural providers.
    • Hoeven joined a bipartisan effort stressing the importance of assistance for rural hospitals to the Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar.
    • Hoeven also urged Azar to make skilled nursing centers and other senior living communities explicitly eligible for this funding.
  • $16 billion to procure personal protective equipment through the Strategic National Stockpile.
  • $11 billion to assist with the development of vaccines as well as therapeutics and diagnostics.

“We all owe a debt of gratitude to our state and nation’s health care workers, and they deserve the best possible support as they fight this pandemic every day,” said Hoeven. “The funding provided in the CARES Act will help cover the tremendous costs borne by our hospitals and providers, who are not only taking on this challenge, but face reduced revenues due to ceasing non-emergency operations. Today’s discussion is an opportunity to ensure their needs are heard by the administration, bolstering our efforts to provide the most effective response possible to COVID-19.”

In addition to the above funding, the CARES Act includes legislation Hoeven cosponsored to support the increased manufacture of CDC-approved respiratory protective devices. The law also increases payments to providers for COVID-19 treatment, provides flexibilities to improve access to telehealth services and requires health plans to cover COVID-19 testing and future vaccination without cost-sharing. 

Hoeven hosted the following officials for today’s video conference, which comes as part of a series of meetings the senator has held to gather feedback on the law’s implementation and to ensure that North Dakotans can best access the assistance:

  • Anand Shah, M.D., Deputy Commissioner for Medical and Scientific Affairs, Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • Jim Parker, Senior Advisor to the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
  • Nick Uehlecke, Advisor to the Secretary, HHS.
  • Nancy O’Connor, Acting Director of the Office of Program Operations, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
  • John Hannigan, Regional Administrator, CMS Denver Office.
  • Thomas Connelly, Director, Doctrine & Policy, Office of Response & Recovery, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Headquarters.
  • Nathan Knapp, Response Division Director, Region 8, FEMA.
  • Ken Sturrock, Region 8, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR).