June 11, 2020
COVID-19 Financial Relief: New $15 Billion Distribution, PPP Flexibilities, and More
An update on new financial relief measures for physicians and practices experiencing lost revenues or increased expenses due to COVID-19.
Relief fund payments to Medicaid and CHIP clinicians
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced additional distributions - approximately $15 billion worth - from the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund to eligible physicians and providers who participate in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program for those who have not received such funding to date.
To be eligible for this funding, clinicians must not have received payments from the $50 billion Provider Relief Fund general distribution and either have directly billed their state Medicaid/CHIP programs or Medicaid managed care plans for health care-related services between Jan. 1, 2018 and Dec. 31, 2020.
If you believe you're eligible for a payment, go to the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund: For Providers page and scroll down to Medicaid/CHIP Provider Relief Fund Payment Forms and Guidance for instructions. You'll be asked to report your annual patient revenue and the number of Medicaid patients you serve so you can determine your payment. Distributions to eligible providers will equal to at least 2% of reported gross revenues from patient care.
HHS is also announcing the distribution this week of $10 billion in Provider Relief Funds to safety net hospitals. More information on these targeted distributions, eligibility, and the application process is available at the HHS CARES Act Provider Relief Fund webpage.
New Paycheck Protection Program flexibilities
Changes aimed at easing restrictions on the Paycheck Protection Program have been passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump. The Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act (H.R. 7010) allows small business owners more flexibility in using a PPP loan.
Provisions of the act include:
- The loan forgiveness period is lengthened from eight weeks to 24 weeks.
- The amount of PPP funds that must be spent on payroll to achieve maximum loan forgiveness is lowered from 75% to 60%, allowing for up to 40% for other qualifying, non-payroll expenses.
- The deadline for the requirement that businesses rehire or replace employees to restore the number of FTEs a business had prior to the pandemic changed from June 30, 2020 to the end of the year. Further, exemptions are allowed for circumstances in which there is an inability to rehire employees, including compliance with government guidance such as social distancing and decreased operations capacity.
- Employers may defer employment payroll tax payments through 2020. If deferred, payment for Social Security taxes for 2020 must be repaid at 50% by Dec. 21, 2021 and the remaining 50% by Dec. 31, 2022. There is no interest accrued on the amount deferred.
- The application for loan forgiveness must be completed within 10 months of the end of the covered period.
- If businesses are unable to have all or some of their PPP loan forgiven, the repayment period is increased from two to five years.
Additionally, the loan application deadline is extended from June 30, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2020, with loans contingent on funds remaining in the PPP loan fund. If you are interested in pursuing a PPP loan, you should reach out to the financial institution you work with to discuss next steps. If you have any questions regarding the Paycheck Protection Program or these changes, contact WSMA's policy team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Legislature extends telemedicine parity, other emergency proclamations
Last week, the state Legislature approved additional extensions for many of Gov. Jay Inslee's emergency proclamations. The following proclamations, priorities for our members, were approved until June 17:
For more COVID-19 financial relief news and resources, visit the WSMA website.