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May 28, 2020

COVID-19 Financial Relief Updates

Protect yourself from unemployment claim fraud; deadline for additional provider relief funds approaches; new PPP loan forgiveness application; WSMA urges delay on EPCS mandate; and more.

Scam alert: Protect yourself from unemployment fraud

The WSMA has heard from multiple physicians and staff who have been targeted for unemployment fraud, i.e., having their SSN and other information used to file fraudulent unemployment claims. To prevent yourself from being targeted or to find out if you've been a target for fraud, follow these steps

  • Set up a Secure Access Washington account (SAW).
  • Sign into your account and begin the process to file for unemployment (you won't actually complete this process)
  • At the "verify my identity" step, you will be able to see if anyone has accessed your account or filed a claim on your behalf.
  • Enter your email to verify your account.

The head of the Employment Security Department in Washington confirmed this method will successfully secure your SSN and your information with the unemployment office and prevent unemployment claims being fraudulent filed on your behalf. If you've been the target of a phony unemployment claim, this Seattle Times article outlines helpful steps to you can take to protect your financial identity and credit history.

June 3 deadline to act for additional Provider Relief Fund payments

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services announced that physicians and health care providers have until June 3 to submit revenue information to be considered for an additional payment from the $50 billion general distribution of the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund. HHS automatically disbursed payments from the first portion ($30 billion) starting on April 10, however most group practices will need to submit a request to receive additional funds from the second portion ($20 billion). Learn more in the HHS announcement.

SBA releases PPP loan forgiveness application

The Small Business Administration released an application for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) borrowers to submit to their lenders when seeking loan forgiveness. The application includes:

  • Instructions on how to perform calculations for loan forgiveness.
  • A list of documents borrowers must submit with the PPP loan forgiveness application.
  • Confirmation that eligible nonpayroll costs still cannot exceed 25% of the total forgiveness amount.
  • A newly created "Alternative Payroll Covered Period" for borrowers with biweekly (or more frequent) pay periods, which would allow the eight-week Covered Period to begin on the first day of the first pay period following PPP loan disbursement.
  • Clarification that borrowers are generally eligible for forgiveness for payroll/nonpayroll costs paid and payroll costs incurred during the eight-week Covered Period (or Alternative Payroll Covered Period); and
  • Additional FTE reduction exceptions.

WSMA seeks delay of EPCS mandate

As reported in a previous Membership Memo, at the urging of the WSMA, the state has delayed the EHR-PMP integration requirement from Senate Bill 5380, with the deadline now pushed out to Sept. 30, 2021. In a letter thanking Secretary Wiesman for the needed delay, the WSMA requested a similar extension for the mandate, also from SB 5380, requiring electronic prescribing of controlled substances scheduled to start Jan. 1, 2021. We will keep members apprised of his response. For practices facing barriers to these mandates, SB 5380 does allow for an economic/technical hardship or exceptional circumstance exemption. The WSMA has been working with DOH staff as they draft and finalize the details of the waiver processes. If you have questions on either mandate, email the WSMA's policy department at policy@wsma.org.

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