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Add Walmart to the list of surprising recipients of coronavirus aid through the CARES Act.
The discount retailer gave back $12.6 million that it received unsolicited through a fund established to help health-care providers. In a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CMS Chief Seema Verma last week, Walmart asked to be excluded from future disbursements.
"We recognize your automatic disbursement of funds through the additional CARES Act funding triggered payment. Respectfully, we would request detailed information on the process to decline the payments, as we will be returning these funds to HHS," the letter, penned by Bruce Harris, Walmart's vice president of federal government affairs, said.
Politico first reported the news.
Walmart received the cash through the $50 billion Provider Relief Fund, which is distributed by the Health and Human Services.
"Walmart did not request support from the Provider Relief Fund to get through this crisis," a Walmart spokesperson told FOX Business. "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 HHS did not respond to requests for comment.
The automatic and unsolicited awards were connected to groups that received Medicare fee-for-service payments in 2019, according to the letter. HHS officials said they have rushed to make quick payments to as many providers as possible during the virus outbreak, distributing $30 billion within a matter of weeks.