We got ahold of a document from Senate Democrats that provides clues to how the federal government will allocate $100 billion from the coronavirus stimulus to hospitals

By Kimberly Leonard

A document circulated by Senate Democrats details how the Trump administration might go about distributing $100 billion to hospitals to relieve them from the financial strains of the coronavirus pandemic

The 39-page document, an FAQ obtained by Business Insider, sheds light on how Democrats were envisioning the provision, which they pushed for as part of the $2 trillion CARES Act that President Donald Trump signed into law last week

The money is intended to help hospitals pay for the cost of treating COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, and to help them recoup losses they incurred by putting off other medical procedures.

The document, shared with Business Insider, is included in full below. It says the Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS, should review hospital reimbursement applications on a "rolling basis" as they come in to "get money into the health system as quickly as possible."

HHS has a lot of flexibility to determine how the money is distributed

The document explains that the grants should go out differently than they would under normal circumstances. Normally, the agency would set a deadline and then allow hospitals to apply. Officials would sift through the applications to pick which hospitals get funding, "a process that would take considerably more time," according to the Democratic document. 

"As such, HHS is given significant flexibility in determining how the funds are allocated, as opposed to operating under a mandated formula or process for awarding the funds," the document says. "This is to ensure that the funding is nimble enough to meet all needs and that the fund disperses money fast enough to help struggling entities."

The funding is only supposed to go toward expenses that haven't been reimbursed by private health insurance or by a government payer, such as Medicare or Medicaid. It can pay for increasing staffing and training, for equipment, and for forgone revenue from canceled procedures. 

Hospital groups have been in the dark regarding more specific details about how and when the funding will be allocated. HHS officials within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response are expected to release guidance to kick off the process. 

Hospitals aren't sure how the funds will be allocated

Carl Graziano, spokesman for America's Essential Hospitals, a group that represents hundreds of public hospitals, said it was waiting on guidance from the administration. 

"We, like most everyone else, are still trying to understand this," he said in an email. 

Responding to a question about how funding would be allocated, Sean Barry, spokesman for the Federation of American Hospitals, which represents for-profit hospitals, replied: "I don't think there is a clear answer at this point. I believe many of the details are still being worked out at HHS."

HHS did not make officials available for interviews to discuss the funding.

"The Trump administration is continuing to take quick and decisive action to combat COVID-19 and protect Americans," an agency spokesperson said. "We will keep you updated on this front."

The document from Senate Democrats provides other details for members to share with their constituents, on issues including small business loans and direct checks to Americans.

A senior Democratic aide said that the caucus intends to hold the Trump administration accountable as they implement the three different pieces of legislation Congress passed to help cover the economic and health tolls of the pandemic. 

Read the full document: