Coronavirus: Lawmakers pass $200M bill to provide emergency healthcare funding

The bill passed the House and Senate in the early hours of Tuesday.
Publish date:

In the early hours of Tuesday, Minnesota's lawmakers passed a bill providing $200 million in emergency aid to help the state's healthcare system cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

The bill passed with unanimous votes in the House and Senate at around 3 a.m., and will provide $150 million for the Minnesota Department of Health to create grants for healthcare providers responding to COVID-19.

The money can be used for reasons including creating temporary sites for testing and treatment, more beds, covering staff overtime and hiring costs, buying more protective equipment and cleaning supplies, emergency transportation, temporary IT systems, and developing screening and testing procedures.

A further $50 million will be placed into a public health contingency account that can be used by hospitals, nursing facilities, and clinics.

The funding is designed to help hospitals and clinics cope in the event the pandemic spreads as quickly and severely as seen in other countries such as Italy, where health facilities have been overwhelmed by the number of serious cases.

It comes as Minnesota has taken early steps to slow the spread of the virus – including closing schools and bars and restaurants – in order to "flatten the curve" so that the virus passes through the popular at a more manageable rate for health providers. 

"While each of us is working as hard as we can to decrease the risk of transmission, we must ensure our health care providers have the resources they need to take care of Minnesotans who may be afflicted with COVID-19," said House Speaker Melissa Hortman.

"These investments are critical to addressing this pandemic and making sure Minnesotans who get sick get the care they need."

Health providers in receipt of any grant funding from the pot must agree not to bill uninsured patients for the cost of COVID-19 screening, testing or treatment, and if a patient is out-of-network, they must accept the "median network rate as payment in full."

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Health insurers have been waiving the costs of COVID-19 tests and office visits, but may still charge those with insurance coverage for any associated treatment.

House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt also noted that any unspent money from the healthcare fund will be automatically returned to the general fund, and there will also be consequences for unauthorized spending of grant money.

"This bill ensures Minnesota's entire public and private health care infrastructure is fully prepared to respond to the COVID-19 global pandemic," said House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt.

"Legislators will continue to monitor the situation and Minnesotans can rest assured that state leaders will respond as we always do in emergency situations."

Next Up

Antoine Winfield Jr.

Watch: Gopher alums Antoine Winfield Jr., Tyler Johnson make key plays in Bucs' playoff win

The Minnesota greats had a pair of highlights as Tampa Bay advanced to the NFC Championship.


Crews respond to fire at Gertens in Inver Grove Heights

It's reported that a greenhouse on the grounds was on fire.

Marcus Carr

Why the Gophers could be in line for a high seed in the NCAA Tournament

The Gophers are done with a brutal stretch and are poised to make a run.

police tape

Authorities ID man fatally struck by 'errant bullet' in Willmar

The man was working in his garage when he was fatally shot.


1 dead, 1 critically injured in head-on crash on Highway 169

The State Patrol says driving impaired may have been a factor in the crash.

Richard Pitino

Gophers game against Nebraska postponed due to COVID outbreak

The Cornhuskers have had 12 members of its team test positive for COVID-19.

Bob Kroll

What Minneapolis Police Lt. Bob Kroll said in Sunday radio interview

Kroll said that once he's retired he'll go "radio silent."

coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, covid-19

Here is Minnesota's COVID update for Sunday, January 17

The health department provides updates daily at 11 a.m.

Sen. Julia Coleman

'No one's business': State senator calls out attack on her pregnancy

Sen. Julia Coleman represents Minnesota's District 47.

Willmar Police Department

'Errant bullet' goes through garage wall, kills Willmar man

The man was working in his garage when he was shot, witnesses said.



MN Legislature passes police accountability package in late-night vote

The bill passed the House and Senate in the early hours of Tuesday.

Screen Shot 2020-03-27 at 7.35.52 AM

Legislature passes $330 million COVID-19 bill – here's what's in it

The Legislature had previously passed a $200 million package to fight the virus.


MN lawmakers work on emergency insulin bill, disagree on funding

There's hope an insulin bill can pass sooner than later.

coronavirus, covid-19, drive-thru testing

Coronavirus: Lawmakers set to pass workers compensation for frontline staff

It'll make it easier for healthcare workers and first responders to get compensation for COVID-19.

coronavirus, covid-19, drive-thru testing

Coronavirus: Total deaths pass 600, hospitalizations up

The figures are up to date as of 4 p.m. Monday.

PPE, coronavirus, covid-19

Coronavirus: 17 more deaths in Minnesota, cases pass 2,500

The figures are updated as of 4 p.m. Monday, which is the cut-off point for Tuesday's reporting period.


MN House passes its latest coronavirus support bill: Here’s what’s in it

The bill includes policy provisions dealing with drivers licenses, COVID-19 testing and food banks.