By: Andrew Eills
May 20, 2020
Governor’s Emergency order # 44 increases total EHSRF to $100 million
On March 19, 2020, Governor Sununu issued Emergency Order #9, creating the COVID-19 Emergency Healthcare System Relief Fund (EHSRF). Emergency Order #9 initially authorized the disbursement of up to $50,000,000 in loans or grants specifically for hospitals and other healthcare providers that serve as essential components of New Hampshire’s healthcare system during the COVID-19 state of emergency. As of mid-May, approximately 65 health care providers, from large hospitals to individual physician practices, have obtained approval to receive disbursements, with amounts ranging from $10,000 to $5,250,000.
The CARES Act, passed by Congress in March, established the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which allocates to New Hampshire approximately $1.25 billion in “flex funds” that may be used to cover costs by the State that are, in part, necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency. As a result of its review of documentation supporting the disbursements from the EHSRF, the Governor’s Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery (GOFERR) has determined that the EHSRF’s expenditures are allowable expenditures under the CRF’s “flex funds.” As a result, on May 18 Governor Sununu modified Emergency Order #9 and issued Emergency Order #44 to expand the EHSRF to $100 million.
Because significant outbreaks of the coronavirus have occurred, and likely will continue to occur, within New Hampshire’s long-term care facilities, the Emergency Order requires that $30 million of the EHSRF be designated for such facilities. In addition, the EHSRF’s focus will shift from urgent relief for frontline COVID-19 healthcare response services to broader relief for all New Hampshire healthcare providers. Because of this, healthcare providers who may not have been on the front lines of the healthcare crisis but who the pandemic has nevertheless impacted should give serious attention to these funds.
Emergency Order #44 further directs the NH Department of Health and Human Services to develop a standard application and establish written criteria for healthcare providers to use in applying for these additional and needed funds. We expect an updated application to be available soon.