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Figure 1.  Distribution of CARES Act Funding
Distribution of CARES Act Funding

Authors’ analysis of matched Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act data.

Figure 2.  Distribution of Log-Transformed CARES Act Funding and Hospital Assets
Distribution of Log-Transformed CARES Act Funding and Hospital Assets

A, Total hospital assets; B, Hospital endowment funds. Authors’ analysis of matched Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Hospital Cost Report data. The dot weighting reflects total discharge equivalents for each hospital. The blue line is the regression line between the 2 variables. For A, the slope is 0.61; for B, 0.42.

Figure 3.  Association Between CARES Act Funding and Hospital Characteristics
Association Between CARES Act Funding and Hospital Characteristics

Analysis of matched Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Hospital Cost Report, and COVID-19 case data. Commercial revenue share (coefficient: −0.6; 95% CI, −1.1 to −0.1; P = .16); Medicaid revenue shares (1.0; 0.4 to 1.7; P < .001); log investment income (−0.0008; −0.0074 to 0.0058; P = .81); log total assets (0.1; 0.08 to 0.20; P < .001); log endowment (0.02; 0.01 to 0.03; P < .001); nonprofit status (0.13; 0.03 to 0.23; P = .01); critical access hospital (−0.40; −0.61 to −0.19; P < .001); teaching hospital (0.4; 0.3 to 0.5; P < .001); log total discharge equivalents (0.15; 0.05 to 0.24; P = .01); log total COVID-19 cases (0.35; 0.28 to 0.42; P < .001).

Table.  Descriptive Characteristics of Matched Hospital Samplea
Descriptive Characteristics of Matched Hospital Samplea
1.
Levy  JF, Ippolito  BN, Jain  A.  Hospital revenue under Maryland’s total cost of care model during the COVID-19 pandemic, March-July 2020.   JAMA. 2021;325(4):398-400. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.22149 PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
2.
Birkmeyer  JD, Barnato  A, Birkmeyer  N, Bessler  R, Skinner  J.  The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on hospital admissions in the United States.   Health Aff (Millwood). 2020;39(11):2010-2017. doi:10.1377/hlthaff.2020.00980 PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
4.
Whaley  CM, Pera  MF, Cantor  J,  et al.  Changes in health services use among commercially insured US populations during the COVID-19 pandemic.   JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(11):e2024984. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.24984 PubMedGoogle Scholar
5.
Chernew  ME, Fendrick  AM, Armbrester  K, Brantes  F de. COVID-19 effects on care volumes: what they might mean and how we might respond. Health Affairs Blog. Published July 6, 2020. https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20200702.788062/full/
6.
Czeisler  MÉ, Marynak  K, Clarke  KEN,  et al.  Delay or avoidance of medical care because of COVID-19-related concerns—United States, June 2020.   MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2020;69(36):1250-1257. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6936a4 PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
7.
Kliff  S. Hospitals knew how to make money. then coronavirus happened. New York Times. May 20, 2020. Accessed October 5, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/15/us/hospitals-revenue-coronavirus.html
8.
Bai  G, Zare  H.  Hospital cost structure and the implications on cost management during COVID-19.   J Gen Intern Med. 2020;35(9):2807-2809. doi:10.1007/s11606-020-05996-8PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
9.
Himmelstein  DU, Woolhandler  S.  The US health care system on the eve of the Covid-19 epidemic: a summary of recent evidence on its impaired performance.   Int J Health Serv. 2020;50(4):408-414. doi:10.1177/0020731420937631PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
10.
US Government Accountability Office. COVID-19: opportunities to improve federal response and recovery efforts. Accessed August 10, 2020. https://www.gao.gov/products/gao-20-625
11.
US Department of Health & Human Services. CARES Act Provider Relief Fund: general information. Accessed October 21, 2020. https://www.hrsa.gov/provider-relief/past-payments
12.
Cooper  Z, Mahoney  N. Economic principles to guide the allocation of COVID-19 provider relief funds. Health Affairs Blog. Published July 9, 2020. Accessed June 16, 2021. https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20200706.961297/full/
13.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Provider Relief Fund COVID-19 high-impact payments. Accessed October 21, 2020. https://data.cdc.gov/Administrative/Provider-Relief-Fund-COVID-19-High-Impact-Payments/b58h-s9zx
14.
Socker  E, Spratt  A, Miller  M. Distributing provider financial aid to create a more efficient, equitable system. Health Affairs Blog. Published October 9, 2020. Accessed October 30, 2020. https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20201006.416650/full/
15.
Grogan  CM, Gusmano  MK, Lin  Y-A.  Unsanitized and unfair: How COVID-19 bailout funds refuel inequity in the US health care system.   J Health Polit Policy Law. 2021;(9155977):9155977. doi:10.1215/03616878-9155977 PubMedGoogle Scholar
16.
White  C. RAND hospital data: web-based tool. Published online July 30, 2018. Accessed October 27, 2020. https://www.rand.org/pubs/tools/TL303.html
17.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Cost reports. Accessed October 27, 2020. https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Downloadable-Public-Use-Files/Cost-Reports
18.
Tanner returns CARES Act funds to HHS. Tanner Health System. Accessed August 23, 2021. https://www.tanner.org/news/tanner-returns-cares-act-funds-to-hhs
19.
HealthData.gov. COVID-19 reported patient impact and hospital capacity by facility. Published online June 1, 2021. Accessed June 16, 2021. https://healthdata.gov/Hospital/COVID-19-Reported-Patient-Impact-and-Hospital-Capa/anag-cw7u
20.
Diaz  A, Chhabra  K, Scott  J. The COVID-19 pandemic and rural hospitals—adding insult to injury. Health Affairs Blog. Published May 3, 2020. Accessed October 29, 2020. https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20200429.583513/full/
21.
Cutler  D.  How will COVID-19 affect the health care economy?   JAMA. 2020;323(22):2237-2238. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.7308 PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
22.
Health Resources & Services Administration. Past targeted distributions. Accessed August 31, 2021. https://www.hrsa.gov/provider-relief/past-payments/targeted-distribution
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    2 Comments for this article
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    Response to "Association Between COVID-19 Relief Funds and Hospital Characteristics in the US"
    Colin Milligan | American Hospital Association
    We welcome thoughtful analysis of the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund (PRF) and the difficult realties faced by hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the study titled “Association between COVID-19 Relief Funds and Hospital Characteristics in the U.S.” excluded relevant but available data about PRF payments to providers without providing a rationale for those exclusions. These omissions resulted in incomplete findings and a skewed picture of which providers received payments.

    The PRF was authorized by Congress in the early days of the pandemic to ensure providers would remain resilient, and the federal government created multiple formulas and
    distribution tranches to allocate funds swiftly to all types, sizes and locations of hospitals.

    One of these tranches was for “high impact” PRF payments, which the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) defines as “hospitals that had a high number of confirmed COVID-19 positive inpatient admissions” during a specific period. The payments were made to help hospitals and health systems deal with a “large increase in expenses due to staffing costs, personal protective equipment costs, protocol changes, re-training, and general system changes” due to a high number of COVID-19 patients.

    Given this definition, it is not surprising that larger hospitals that treated more COVID-19 patients received more relief. However, the study suggests that the pre-pandemic financial state of hospitals should have been a factor in distributing payments intended to provide immediate, critical support to hospitals caring for a high number of COVID-19 patients at that point in the pandemic.

    In addition, while it is true that small rural hospitals received less of the high impact PRF payments for the reasons above, the study excluded other targeted PRF payments to rural and so-called safety-net providers, without providing a reason for their omission. The study also appears to have ignored the non-targeted, general PRF distributions these providers received. Further, the study makes no mention of the forthcoming phase IV or American Rescue Plan (ARP) Rural payments.

    In most instances, hospitals did not apply for the specific amount of funds they received. And, if hospitals received more funds than their COVID-19-related expenses and lost revenue show, the excess funding is returned to the federal government following an auditing and reporting process.

    We agree that many hospitals, especially small rural ones, were in dire financial straits prior to the pandemic. This financial stress has only grown more severe due to the ongoing impact of higher acuity care for COVID-19 patients and deferred treatments, drastically increased expenses and reduced revenue. This is why it is crucial to get the remaining PRF funds out to providers in the most expeditious manner possible.

    Ashley Thompson
    American Hospital Association
    Senior Vice President, Public Policy Analysis and Development
    athompson@aha.org

    Aaron Wesolowski
    American Hospital Association
    Vice President, Policy Research, Analytics and Strategy
    awesolowski@aha.org

    Joanna Hiatt Kim
    American Hospital Association
    Vice President, Payment Policy and Analysis
    jkim@aha.org
    CONFLICT OF INTEREST: None Reported
    READ MORE
    The Need for a Database of Audited Financial Statements
    Robert Berenson, MD (1); Nancy M. Kane DBA (2) | (1) Urban Institute; (2) Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health
    The Cantor et al. study provides more evidence that Provider Relief Funds under the CARES Act were not distributed based on financial need for cash but rather based on considerations that disproportionately aided health systems able to readily absorb temporary revenue shortfalls without additional federal assistance. The formula for the first round of CARES Act funding distributions, based on prior traditional Medicare revenues, favored larger hospitals with greater assets. The article is timely because the lessons learned from this experience suggest the urgent need to rely on a more accurate and comprehensive national financial database to inform a wide range of policy decisions.

    As with many other research studies, Cantor et al. reasonably relied on Medicare Cost Reports available from the Healthcare Cost Report Information System (HCRIS). While the authors acknowledge that HCRIS data is not current, we have found even more challenging limitations of reliance on the HCRIS. For instance, HCRIS does not capture assets and income of non-hospital entities within a health system, such as parent entities holding billions of financial assets; the reporting of operating income can include unrealized gains and losses related to the fluctuation of billion-dollar investment portfolios that have little to do with the financial results of providing patient care; and for important metrics of financial health (solvency, capital adequacy, and liquidity), the HCRIS data lack accurate detailed information required to assure comparability across reporting entities.

    These and other limitations can be overcome with standardized audited financial statements (AFS) of health systems, which we have explored in a recent technical article

    Some states have been collecting and using standardized AFS to inform policymaking for years; it is time for the federal government to catch up.
    CONFLICT OF INTEREST: None Reported
    READ MORE
    Original Investigation
    October 22, 2021

    Association Between COVID-19 Relief Funds and Hospital Characteristics in the US

    Author Affiliations
    • 1RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, California
    • 2RAND Corporation, Arlington, Virginia
    JAMA Health Forum. 2021;2(10):e213325. doi:10.1001/jamahealthforum.2021.3325
    Key Points

    Question  What is the association between financial assistance through the High-Impact Distribution Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act program and hospital-level financial resources?

    Findings  In this cross-sectional study among 952 hospital-level entities, wide ranges existed in CARES Act funding, with 24% of hospitals receiving less than $5 million in funding and 8% receiving more than $50 million. Academic-affiliated hospitals with higher pre–COVID-19 assets and hospitals that had higher COVID-19 cases received higher levels of funding, while critical access hospitals received lower levels of financial assistance.

    Meaning  CARES Act funds may have disproportionately gone to hospitals that were in a stronger financial situation prior to the pandemic compared with those that were not, but funds also went disproportionately to those that eventually had the most cases.

    Abstract

    Importance  In response to financial stress created by the reduction in care during the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals received financial assistance through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act program. To date, the allocation of CARES Act funding is not well understood.

    Objective  To examine the disbursement of the High-Impact Distribution CARES Act funds and the association between financial assistance and hospital-level financial resources prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Design, Setting, and Participants  This cross-sectional analysis of US-based hospitals and health systems assesses the hospital characteristics associated with CARES Act funding with linear regression models using linked hospital and health system–level information on CARES Act funding with hospital characteristics from Hospital Cost Report data.

    Exposures  Hospital and health system CARES Act financial assistance.

    Main Outcomes and Measures  Hospital and health system affiliation, status, and financial health prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Data analysis took place from December 2020 through June 2021.

    Results  The analysis included 952 hospital-level entities with an average payment of $33.6 million, most of which was received during the first payment round. Wide ranges existed in CARES Act funding, with 24% of matched hospitals receiving less than $5 million in funding and 8% receiving more than $50 million. Academic-affiliated hospitals, hospitals with higher pre–COVID-19 assets and hospitals with higher COVID-19 cases received higher levels of funding, while critical access hospitals received lower levels of financial assistance. A 10% increase in hospital assets, endowment size, and COVID-19 cases was associated with 1.4% (95% CI, 0.8% to 2.0%; P = .003), 0.2% (95% CI, 0.1% to 0.3%; P < .001), and 3.5% (95% CI, 2.8% to 4.2%; P < .001) increases in CARES Act funding, respectively.

    Conclusions and Relevance  In this cross-sectional study of US hospitals and health systems, findings suggest that High-Impact Distribution CARES Act funds may have disproportionately gone to hospitals that were in a stronger financial situation prior to the pandemic compared with those that were not, but funds also went disproportionately to those that eventually had the most cases.

    Introduction

    The COVID-19 pandemic has caused immense disruption to health care utilization and, in turn, hospital finances.1 Between February and April 2020, there was a decline of 20% for primary admissions, which slightly rebounded to 16% by early July 2020.2 The decline in volume could be due to multiple factors, including the suspension of elective and noncritical care in multiple states.3 Data from employer-sponsored claims data have found in the first 2 months of the COVID-19 pandemic dramatic reductions in the use of preventive and elective care.4 From April to June of 2020, estimates of hospital procedures were still on the decline for most procedure types.5 Recent survey data collected in June 2020 indicate that an estimated 41% of US adults delayed or avoided medical care owing to concerns about COVID-19.6

    It has been reported anecdotally that because of the decline in hospital admissions, many hospitals may be forced to furlough employees or initiate salary cuts in an effort to reduce costs.7 Prior to the pandemic, labor and capital costs accounted for approximately 41% and 4% of hospital operating costs, respectively, and around a third of operating costs were from operating rooms, laboratories, diagnostic radiology, general routine inpatient care, intensive care units, outpatient clinics, and emergency departments.8 Early in the pandemic, data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that the number of hospital employees had decreased by 135 000 between March and April 2020, which constitutes a 2.6% decline.9

    In response to decreased patient volume and weak financial positions, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provided funding for health care professionals that included an increase in payments by Medicare to eligible health professionals.10 The Provider Relief Fund provided $175 billion to reimburse eligible hospitals and health professionals for health care–related expenses or losses in revenue that were the result of COVID-19. As of May 31, 2020, 380 000 payments were made that totaled $65.2 billion.10 Of that $65.2 billion, the CARES Act budgeted $22 billion in targeted distributions for more than a thousand hospitals in high-impact areas that were most heavily affected by COVID-19 in the first surge of the pandemic.11 These funds were distributed automatically in 2 rounds under the COVID-19 High-Impact Distribution budget line item. As of October 21, 2020, more than 97% of budgeted funds had been disbursed in response to the first surge of COVID-19 cases. General distribution payments were dispersed according to a formula set by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, based on the hospital’s share of fee-for-service Medicare payments out of total Medicare payments in 2019 for the initial disbursement, and a function of the most recent annual gross receipts minus the initial disbursement.11 These funds were meant to support hospitals particularly hard hit financially by COVID-19 through well-documented decreases in volumes of care. However, it is not clear if historical measures of Medicare payments are the most appropriate indicator for hospital financial assistance need.12 In contrast, high-impact funds were disbursed based on hospital COVID-19 cases.13

    While it is known what the funding allocation formulas are, it is unclear how these funds were targeted to hospitals in relation to their pre–COVID-19 finances, which is an important policy question to inform future resource allocations.14 Existing studies have found that initial funding allocations disproportionally went to hospitals with more cash on hand.15 This cross-sectional study examines the disbursement of CARES Act funding to hospitals and how funding allocations vary by hospital financial status and patient composition prior to the pandemic.

    Methods
    Hospital Cost Reports

    Hospital-level data were from 2018 and were taken Hospital Cost Reports from the Healthcare Cost Report Information System (HCRIS).16 The HCRIS data contain detailed hospital information such as facility characteristics, utilization, costs, and charges for hospitals and cost centers.17 Financial data, including assets and investment income, were extracted and used to calculate prices and patient share by payers. Mean hospital prices were calculated as the revenue per discharge equivalent for Medicare (including traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage), Medicaid, and commercial payers. Total hospital revenues include revenue from inpatient and outpatient settings. Discharge equivalents were calculated by the product of inpatient discharges and the ratio of total to inpatient hospital operating expenses.

    CARES Act Funding

    CARES Act Provider Relief Fund payment records from 1193 hospitals through the High-Impact Distribution Funds program were analyzed.13 Nine hospitals were excluded that had already paid back all of their high-impact distribution funds. One double payment to a hospital that plans to pay back $62.6 million was also excluded.18

    COVID-19 Cases

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data were used to calculate the total number of suspected COVID-19 hospitalizations through June 1, 2021.19 These hospitals were merged with the hospitals receiving high-impact funds to examine the association between funding and eventual COVID-19 case counts.

    Matching Hospital Cost Reports and CARES Act Fund Data

    The HCRIS data and CARES Act Fund data were linked for a total of 1027 CARES Act payments matched to hospitals. The analysis included either individual hospitals, grouped hospitals, or grouped systems based on how funds were distributed. CARES funding data included the hospital’s name, city, and state, which were used to match to hospitals in the HCRIS database. Matching was done either by exact match by name-city-state (332 matches) or by manual matching and confirmation. When a hospital-level match occurred between the CARES data and HCRIS data, the hospital was the unit of analysis. Sometimes, 2 or more hospital names or organizations (such as a children’s hospital co-located with a general hospital) were merged into 1 unit of hospital-level analysis. Whenever none of the above matches were possible, we grouped hospitals by system to match with HCRIS hospital systems. The 157 hospitals that could not be matched were dropped from the analysis. Those excluded hospitals accounted for 8% of all CARES high-impact funding. This study was determined to not be human participants research by the RAND Institutional Review Board.

    Statistical Analysis

    Linear regression models were used to assess the hospital characteristics associated with CARES Act funding. To reduce the influence of outliers and allow for a percentage comparison, the primary results used logarithmic-transformed CARES Act funding and hospital financial characteristics. Because log-transformed measures were used, the results can be interpreted in percentage changes by taking the exponent of the respective estimate. The regression models controlled for differences in patient composition using case-mix adjusted discharges for Medicare, Medicaid, and privately insured patients. Estimated regression models that test for differences based on the type of hospital (eg, teaching, nonprofit, and critical access) were also calculated. To account for differences in hospital size and patient population, all analyses were weighted by the number of discharges at each hospital. All P values were 2-tailed and used the .05 level to determine statistical significance. All analyses were performed using Stata, version 16 (StataCorp LLC). The study followed the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) reporting guideline.

    Results

    A total of 952 hospital-level entities were used to analyze CARES Act funding distributions for high-impact funds. The matching accounted for 92% of all CARES Act funding disbursement as of October 22, 2020. Hospitals received a mean of approximately $33.6 million in total CARES Act high-impact funding, most of which was received during the first payment round, followed by a smaller round 2 payment (Table). The mean first-round payments was $22.1 million, compared with $11.5 million for second-round payments.

    Figure 1 presents the distribution of CARES Act funding. Among the matched hospitals, 23.6% received less than $5 million in funding, 22.1% received between $5 and $10 million, 26.3% received $10 to $20 million, 11.4% received $20 to $30 million, 4.6% received $30 to $40 million, 4.3% received $40 to $50 million, and 7.8% received more than $50 million.

    Figure 2 presents the distribution of log-transformed CARES Act funding and hospital assets. Each hospital observation was weighted by the annual number of patient discharges. As reported in panel A, there was a high correlation between logged hospital assets and logged CARES Act payments. A 10% increase in hospital assets prior to the pandemic was associated with a 5.3% increase in CARES Act payments. Panel B presents similar results for hospital endowment funds. Among hospitals with endowment funds, a 10% increase in endowment funds was associated with a 2.6% increase in CARES Act funding.

    Figure 3 presents multivariate regression results that test the association between hospital characteristics and CARES Act funding. Hospitals with higher shares of total revenue coming from Medicaid revenues prior to the pandemic received a greater amount of CARES high-impact funding, while those with higher shares of total revenue coming from commercial revenues prior to the pandemic received a smaller amount of CARES high-impact funding. When accounting for differences in patient composition and the total number of hospital discharges, a 10% increase in hospital assets and endowment size prior to the pandemic and eventual COVID-19 case counts was associated with a 1.4% (95% CI, 0.8% to 2.0%; P = .003), 0.2% (95% CI, 0.1% to 0.3%; P < .001), and 3.5% (95% CI, 2.8% to 4.2%; P < .001) increases in CARES Act funding, respectively. Nonprofit hospitals received 13% (95% CI, 2.9% to 23%; P = .12) more CARES Act assistance, teaching hospitals received 42% (95% CI, 30% to 56%; P < .001) higher funding, and critical access hospitals received 40% (95% CI, −61% to −19%; P < .001) less CARES Act funding.

    Discussion

    The COVID-19 pandemic created a massive shock to the US health care delivery system. In response to both concerns of infection transmission and local ordinances, many patients avoided receiving care. The lack of care translates to reduced revenue for many health care delivery organizations. In response to lower revenues, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services provided financial assistance to hospitals through the CARES Act.

    Linked CARES Act funding data with hospital cost report data were used to document variations in CARES Act funding across hospitals. Regression analysis indicated that while more-resourced hospitals, measured through financial assets prior to the pandemic, did receive higher levels of CARES Act funding, the largest component of CARES Act funding distribution was the share of hospital revenue that occurs from Medicaid patients. Teaching hospitals also received higher levels of financial support, while critical access hospitals received lower levels of financial assistance. This disparity in funding may be of particular interest because many critical access and rural hospitals faced financial pressures even before the COVID-19 pandemic.20 Policy makers should continue to ensure that these types of hospitals are sufficiently funded, potentially with additional rounds of funding.

    Limitations

    This study is not without limitations. First, while the measures of funding are comprehensive, they covered only the initial stage of the pandemic. It is expected that the costs to health care systems will be dependent on the length of the pandemic.21 Thus, updates to this analysis will be needed. Second, there may be systematic differences between hospitals that we were able to match between the HCRIS and CARES funds and those that we failed to match. For example, health care systems may have mechanically higher investments or assets and the HCRIS data pools data for an entire health care system while the CARES funds do not. Eight percent of CARES funds was unmatched in the sample. These failed matches may be systematically different, have different patient populations, and operate different Medicare systems. Finally, our analysis focused only on the High-Impact Distribution Funds program and did not assess other CARES Act funding provided to rural facilities ($11.1 billion) and safety-net hospitals ($13.1 billion), which may have benefited hospitals with fewer financial resources.22

    Addressing the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic required a rapid response. Using a more nuanced approach than Medicare fee-for-service, such as based on total hospital assets or operating margins, may have differently allocated resources but would have likely delayed funding because Medicare Hospital Cost Reports are available at a 2-year delay. As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, future work should examine the outcomes of differential CARES Act funding on hospital investments, technologies, and behavior.

    Conclusions

    In this cross-sectional study of US hospitals assessing the characteristics of hospitals that received High-Impact Distribution CARES Act funding and the magnitude of CARES Act funding, wide variation existed in the funding distributed to hospitals. Academic hospitals and hospitals with higher pre–COVID-19 assets received higher levels of funding, while critical access hospitals received lower levels of financial assistance. The results suggest that CARES Act funds may have disproportionately gone to hospitals that were in a stronger financial situation prior to the pandemic compared with those that were not.

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    Article Information

    Accepted for Publication: August 27, 2021.

    Published: October 22, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamahealthforum.2021.3325

    Correction: This article was corrected on November 19, 2021, to clarify the basis for general and high-impact funds distribution in the Introduction and Discussion sections.

    Open Access: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the CC-BY License. © 2021 Cantor J et al. JAMA Health Forum.

    Corresponding Author: Christopher M. Whaley, PhD, RAND Corporation, 1776 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 94708 (cwhaley@rand.org).

    Author Contributions: Dr Whaley and Messrs Briscombe, Chapman, and Qureshi had full access had full access to all the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

    Concept and design: Cantor, Briscombe, Whaley.

    Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: All authors.

    Drafting of the manuscript: All authors.

    Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: Cantor, Qureshi, Briscombe, Whaley.

    Statistical analysis: Cantor, Qureshi, Briscombe, Whaley.

    Obtained funding: Whaley.

    Administrative, technical, or material support: Briscombe, Whaley.

    Supervision: Briscombe, Whaley.

    Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Drs Cantor and Whaley and Messrs Briscombe, Chapman, and Qureshi reported receiving grants from Arnold Ventures during the conduct of the study. Dr Whaley also acknowledges support from National Institute on Aging (grant No. 1K01AG061274). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the study funders.

    Funding/Support: Funding for this work was provided by Arnold Ventures.

    Role of the Funder/Sponsor: Arnold Ventures had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

    References
    1.
    Levy  JF, Ippolito  BN, Jain  A.  Hospital revenue under Maryland’s total cost of care model during the COVID-19 pandemic, March-July 2020.   JAMA. 2021;325(4):398-400. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.22149 PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
    2.
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    4.
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    5.
    Chernew  ME, Fendrick  AM, Armbrester  K, Brantes  F de. COVID-19 effects on care volumes: what they might mean and how we might respond. Health Affairs Blog. Published July 6, 2020. https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20200702.788062/full/
    6.
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