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DOH Releases Requests for Applications for Essential Health Care Provider Support Funds

The State Department of Health (DOH) has released two requests for applications (RFAs), under the Essential Health Care Provider Support Program.  The first RFA makes available $300 million in two rounds of funding, with applications under the first round due Nov. 20, 2015 and applications under the second round due Dec. 18, 2015.  Awards under this RFA will fund  debt  retirement and  capital  and non-capital projects that facilitate  health  care  transformation,  including  mergers,  consolidation, and restructuring  activities,  intended  to contribute to the long-term sustainability of the applicant and preservation of essential health services in the community.

The second RFA, entitled Health Care Delivery System Innovators Fund, makes available $55 million to support the efforts of essential health care providers in implementing innovative models of health care delivery.  Eligible models may include, among others, reducing hospital readmissions and emergency department use; using care coordination strategies to improve outcomes and efficiency; working with DOH on a shared Medicaid savings program; and sponsoring or directly operating programs such as supportive housing and incorporating such programs into discharge planning.

It is unclear at this time whether facilities other than general hospitals are eligible to apply for funds under either RFA. According to the statute that authorizes the program, an “essential health care provider” is a “hospital or hospital system that  . . . offers health  care  services  within a defined geographic region where such services would otherwise be unavailable  to the population of such region.”  In the context of this statute, the term “hospital” is defined to include nursing homes. Moreover, the statute includes as a qualifying criterion the fulfillment of an otherwise unmet need for residential health care services. Despite the statutory language, the RFAs require all applicants to be general hospitals (i.e., not nursing homes or clinics), while nevertheless reiterating the statutory reference to filling an unmet need for residential health care services.

LeadingAge New York has asked the Department to clarify its intent concerning the eligibility of nursing homes for this funding.  The RFA indicates that responses to questions will be posted by Nov. 12th.  We will notify members via our website as soon as we receive an answer.

Contact:  Karen Lipson, klipson@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8383 ext. 124.