Walmart received $12.6 million in federal health stimulus cash intended for doctors and hospitals – but returned it
- Walmart says it never requested the money and is seeking to return it
- Funds went out automatically to 500,000 healthcare providers nationwide
- Walmart operates urgent care clinics and some of the first testing stations
- CARES Act contained $50 billion in funding for healthcare providers
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
Walmart has returned $12.6 million in federal funding that was sent to the company from a fund intended for healthcare providers responding to the coronavirus pandemic.
The retail giant, which operates urgent care clinics in several of its stores, said it did not request the federal funds, which were sent out automatically to thousands of healthcare providers.
‘Walmart did not request support from the Provider Relief Fund to get through this crisis,’ a spokesperson told DailyMail.com.
‘The Fund is intended to help hospitals and frontline medical providers, so we quickly contacted the Department of Health and Human Services about the disbursement and returned the funds.’
The entrance to Walmart’s health center in Dallas, Georgia is seen above. The company received an automatic relief payment from the federal government by has returned it
On April 23, Walmart sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services chief Seema Verma asking to be excluded from future disbursements.
Walmart’s receipt of the funds and subsequent decision to return them were first reported by Politico.
The funds were part of a $50 billion relief package for hospitals contained in the CARES Act, $30 billion of which was distributed to some 500,000 organizations across the country last month.
The automatic and unsolicited awards were linked to which groups received Medicare fee-for-service payments in 2019.
Walmart operates urgent care clinics, which provide outpatient services such as lab tests and X-rays, in at least 20 locations in Georgia, South Carolina, and Texas.
The company also provided space in its parking lots for some of the earliest drive-through COVID-19 testing sites.
A drone photograph shows technicians administering tests in a Walmart parking lot to health care workers and first responders who believe they may have come in contact with a carrier of the coronavirus in Northlake, Illinois on 24 March 2020
HHS has begun distributing the remaining $20 billion of the $50 billion general distribution to Medicare providers this month.
The funding is intended support healthcare-related expenses or lost revenue attributable to COVID-19, and to ensure uninsured Americans can get testing and treatment for COVID-19.
Most Walmart stores have remained open during the pandemic to sell food and other essential items, though some have moved to restricted hours, or closed temporarily after staff were infected.
On Tuesday, the company announced an additional round of $10 million in grants to organizations around the world supporting their local communities as they respond to COVID-19.
The new funding brings Walmart’s commitment to $35 million in cash and in-kind donations.
In the U.S., those community grants fall into three areas: food access, healthcare and technology.