Press Releases

            Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement on the “Marshall Plan” injection of funds for hospitals and health care providers. The funds, totaling more than $120 billion, are part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, which was signed into law last week:

            “Our hospitals and health care providers are on the frontlines of this pandemic, and they’re coming under ever-increasing strain. From dwindling supplies to insufficient ICU beds to diminishing number of available personnel, they need an all-hands approach from Congress to help get through this.

            “The coronavirus pandemic poses a real, immediate threat of overwhelming our hospitals and rendering them unable to treat the infected. The provisions in the recently passed CARES Act will help bolster our health system and alleviate this strain.

            “We must ensure our hospitals are equipped with the resources they need to meet this unprecedented challenge. This may not be the last act Congress has to take. Even in a best case scenario, our hospitals, clinics, doctors, nurses and support staff are going to be under incredible stress and strain, and we must step up to help them. They really are the heroes in this fight.”

            The “Marshall Plan” for our health system includes:

  • Reimbursements: A $100 billion fund, run through the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund, to cover non-reimbursable costs attributed to the coronavirus and accrued by any health care entity that provides care, diagnoses or testing related to the coronavirus. Applicable expenses include costs associated with building new ICUs, increasing staffing and purchasing personal protective equipment.
  • Support for community health centers: In addition to qualifying for support from the $100 billion PHSSEF (above), community health centers will also be eligible for a supplemental $1.32 billion to cope with the influx of patients overwhelming many rural areas.
  • Supporting state and local health departments: An additional $4.3 billion will be available to public health departments. These agencies are often the first place Americans look for advice on how to protect themselves from this pandemic, and they help ensure there are enough resources for local health care providers. Fully funding this first line of defense will be key in stopping the progress of this virus.
  • Replenishing medical supplies: $16 billion was included to replenish the national stockpile of medical supplies including personal protective equipment for health care workers such as gloves, masks and gowns and ventilators, which will be in high demand as the virus spreads.
  • Boosting supplies: $1 billion will support actions under the Defense Production Act that could include increasing and expediting the production of ventilators and much-needed personal protective equipment. Many private companies have offered to assist the federal government under this law.
  • Vaccine research: $3.5 billion will be devoted to research a vaccine and treatments for coronavirus. Though a viable vaccine may not be available for 12 to 18 months, this funding will help boost existing efforts to find, test and deploy one. Therapeutic treatments that may help treat coronavirus are also being researched.
  • Targeting at-risk populations: $1 billion will bolster the Indian Health Service, which serves an aging population with higher rates of chronic illness. $200 million will support nursing homes, which are at particular risk of spreading coronavirus because of the prevalence of elderly patients in regular, close contact.
  • Supporting state and local health departments: An additional $4.3 billion will be available to public health departments. These agencies are often the first place Americans look for advice on how to protect themselves from this pandemic, and they help ensure there are enough resources for local health care providers. Fully funding this first line of defense will be key in stopping the progress of this virus.
  • Ensuring coronavirus testing for the privately insured: The CARES Act makes a technical correction to the previously passed Families First Coronavirus Act to ensure that all tests are free and that related fees (visits to an emergency room, urgent care center or doctor’s office) associated with tests are waived.

            More information on the CARES Act and provisions affecting the health system is available here.

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