N.J. hospitals get $1.7B in new federal funding that recognizes state as coronavirus hot spot

N.J. hospitals get $1.7B in new federal funding that recognizes state as coronavirus hot spot

By:  Jonathan D. Salant

New Jersey is one of the major hot spots of the coronavirus pandemic, and the latest round of federal funding for the state hospitals announced Friday reflected the caseload.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded $1.7 billion to 53 New Jersey hospitals. That was out of a pool of $12 billion allocated to 395 hospitals that have had at least 100 COVID-19 cases.

These hospitals treated more than 70 percent of the 184,000 Americans infected with the coronavirus that required in-patient care.

“This is consistent with our effort to ensure that Americans who need federal government assistance the most receive it,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said. “This relief funding will help these heroes defeat this virus.”

As of Friday, New Jersey reported 121,190 cases, second only to New York, which got half the hospital funding, $5 billion.

Another $2 billion went to those hospitals on the basis of payments they received for Medicare, Medicaid and uncompensated care. New Jersey got $137.7 million of that allocation, also second only to New York.

“New Jersey’s hospitals and health care providers have been pushing full throttle, doing whatever it takes to beat back this pandemic and provide care and treatment to patients,” said U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J.

The $2 trillion stimulus law, known as the CARES Act, provided $100 billion for hospitals, but the first two rounds of grants were allocated under a formula that shortchanged New Jersey and other states hard hit by the pandemic.

“Because of a screwy, utterly unfair formula, the first allocation of CARES Act funding was a bad joke for our state," said Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-9th Dist.