MADISON —​ Just shy of $2 billion in federal funds has been invested in public health, emergency response efforts, and economic stabilization in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Wisconsin.

The Evers Administration also announced recently $131 million in targeted allocations for efforts aimed at addressing healthcare worker shortages and helping create capacity in Wisconsin hospitals and skilled nursing facilities. Funds were allocated by the administration from the state’s Coronavirus Relief Fund, which was made available to Wisconsin through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Targeted allocations addressing worker shortages and hospital/skill nursing facility capacity include:

> $40 million for hospital and skilled nursing facility staffing.

> $30 million for Post-Acute Admissions Incentive Payments for Skilled Nursing Facilities.

> $1 million for a Certified Nursing Assistant Marketing Campaign.

> $60 million for Long-Term Care Direct Payment Program Supplement.

To date, federal funds have been invested in emergency response, public health measures, and economic support initiatives for Wisconsin residents, businesses, and communities. As of November 6, the state has expended $621 million and obligated an additional $484 million. An additional $872 million in funds has been committed for distribution by the end of December.

Roughly $22 million remains reserved to ensure the state continues to have the flexibility to respond to emerging needs. Investments have been made out of the surge operating reserve, including for a program to provide admissions incentives for skilled nursing facilities and efforts to recruit and retain healthcare staff. Allocations will continue to be updated to reflect re-estimates based on actual cost information.

Additional information on thesefforts is on Wisconsin’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Investment dashboard website. The website provides transparent and regularly updated information regarding how and where Wisconsin is investing federal funding, including significant funding from the federal CARES Act, Gov. Tony Evers' office said.

Evers' Administration is continuing to make regular revisions to allocations to reflect actual costs to ensure Wisconsin can use funds before the federal deadline. Federal CRF dollars must be expended by December 30, leaving Wisconsin and other states facing a significant cliff in available funding despite the ongoing pandemic, the administration said.

As of November 19, Wisconsin had 338,472 positive COVID-19 cases, 15,336 hospitalizations, and 2,876 deaths due to COVID-19. Current trends continuing to show an increase in cases in Wisconsin, requiring continued investment in the detection and mitigation efforts.

A chart of CARES funding allocations is attached to this article.

(Copyright © 2020 APG Media)

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