DHS to offer Wisconsin hospitals $40 million to offset COVID-19 losses

Published: Jun. 11, 2020 at 9:08 PM CDT
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A new $40 million program will provide Wisconsin hospitals with direct payments to help them recover lost revenue and expenses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our hospitals have been doing more with less throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, caring for vulnerable Wisconsinites and keeping our communities healthy and safe,” Gov. Tony Evers said in announcing the new program. “This support is critically needed as we continue to battle this virus and ensure high quality care for Wisconsinites.”

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services will provide the funds to the hospitals in one lump, basued on their relative percentage of inpatient and outpatient Medicaid revenue. The payments will then be offset by other moneys provided by private insurance and other state or federal programs.

"(W)e know hospitals are stretched thin. This funding will help alleviate the financial strain felt by these hospitals and make it possible for them to continue their essential work,” DHS' Secretary-designee Andrea Palm said.

Her agency plans to reach out to the hospitals with information about program and expects to have the money in the hospitals hands by the second week of July.

Wisconsin Hospital Association President and CEO Eric Borgerding called the new program welcome news for the hospitals still bouncing back from the strains of battling COVID-19 as well as the lost revenues by putting other medical services on hold.

"We appreciate this assistance and his recognition of the ongoing challenges facing hospitals and health systems across the state," he said.