Congress Passes Another COVID-19 Relief Bill
On April 24, the President signed into law another round of legislative relief for health care providers and small businesses.
The “Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act” provides another $75 billion for the “Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund,” or Provider Relief Fund.
ASNC led a letter signed by four cardiovascular societies that was sent to Congress last week asking for additional financial relief for physician practices. With a number of relief priorities left unaddressed in this most recent bill, congressional lawmakers have already begun assembling another legislative package.
While $50 billion of the initial $100 billion is being allocated to Medicare providers, including physician practice, based on their 2018 net revenues, it is unclear how much of the additional $75 billion will be distributed to providers outside COVID-19 high-impact areas. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have characterized the additional $75 billion as relief for hospitals, although the law states “eligible health care providers” include Medicare or Medicaid enrolled providers who provide diagnoses, testing, or care for individuals with possible or actual cases of COVID-19.
With the initial distribution of funds, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) broadly defined eligible providers as those who provided diagnoses, testing, or care for individuals with possible or actual cases of COVID-19. HHS clarified that care did not have to be specific to treating COVID-19 and the Department broadly viewed every patient as a possible case of COVID-19. It is unclear whether HHS will apply this broad definition when determining future fund allocations.
Congress is also pouring another $321 billion into the Paycheck Protection Protection program, an additional $50 billion for the Disaster Loans Program, and an additional $10 billion for Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loans. The Small Business Administration announced that it will resume accepting Paycheck Protection Program applications from participating lenders on Monday, April 27.
ASNC will continue to keep you updated. Watch for ASNC Flashpoint and special alerts.