Early this morning, my colleagues and I reached a bipartisan, bicameral agreement on a bill to provide emergency funding to help hospitals and providers respond to COVID-19. The bill (SF 4334) received unanimous approval in the House and Senate. Click here for non-partisan coverage of the vote from Minnesota House Public Information Services.
The bill appropriates $150 million to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to make grants to eligible providers for costs related to planning for, preparing for, or responding to an outbreak of COVID-19; fund the establishment and operation of temporary sites to provide testing services, to provide treatment beds, or to isolate or quarantine affected individuals, to respond to an outbreak of COVID-19; and administer the grant program. The bill defines an “eligible provider” as an ambulance service; health care provider; health care clinic; pharmacy; health care facility or long-term care facility, including but not limited to a hospital, nursing facility, or setting where assisted living services or health care services are or may be provided; or health system.
The approved legislation also includes an additional $50 million for the public health response contingency account, and allows MDH, in consultation with hospitals, ambulance services, emergency management, and public health agencies, to make payments from the public health response contingency account to ambulance services, health care clinics, pharmacies, health care facilities and long-term care facilities, including but not limited to hospitals, nursing facilities, and settings at which assisted living services or health care services are or may be provided; and health systems, for costs that are necessary on an emergency basis to plan for, prepare for, or respond to pandemic influenza or a communicable or infectious disease.
Governor Walz signed the bill into law approximately an hour ago.
I’ll keep providing updates as information is available.