By: Steven Boyne
COVID-19 has devastated the US economy, including many parts of our Healthcare sector. The Federal Government, along with most States, have begun to respond with various financial incentives, ranging from straight out grants to loans, and everything in between. The following is an overview of some of the assistance that is currently available for the Healthcare community, along with some tips that may assist your company in applying, and what you need to do if you are lucky enough to receive some money:
The CARES Act
- Paycheck Protection Program (the “PPP”). Essentially a grant from the Federal Government for payroll, employee benefits, rent/mortgage, utilities for 8 weeks. This program is available for all small businesses, and is managed through banks and private financial institutions.
- Apply with multiple financial institutions, and whoever comes through first take the loan/grant;
- If you receive the money keep excellent records;
- You can only use the money for W-2 employees, not 1099 contractors;
- There are strict rules with respect to the number of employees, and their maximum salary. The NUMBER of employees before and after the loan is critical, not the actual employee, so if you laid off someone, you don’t have to hire back that particular person, you can use the money for a new employee who fills the same position; and
- If you don’t use all the money for payroll etc, don’t worry, you can either pay it back in a lump sum, or pay it back over time at 1% interest.
Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loan. It is basically a loan advance up to $10,000 administered by the SBA
- If the money is utilized correctly, in becomes a grant, not a loan;
- SBA is slow in administering it, but keep trying to follow-up with the SBA; and
- Employers will only receive a maximum of $1,000 per employee
Medicare & Medicaid
- Hospitals can apply for and receive up to 6 months advanced lump sum payment based on past Medicare Billings.
- HHS grants to healthcare providers based on 2019 Medicare fee-for-service revenue. Many healthcare providers have already received these funds, but if the Provider sees a lot of Medicaid patients, there are additional funds available from the HHS.
- Skilled nursing facilities, dentists and other providers that only treat Medicaid beneficiaries are entitled to additional assistance.
- Special additional allocations from various Federal and State entities for rural healthcare providers.
COVID-19 Patients If a provider is treating COVID-19 patients, there are many different types of assistance and grants available. They are too numerous to be addressed in this overview, but assistance includes, purchase of PPE, contact tracing, infection control and mitigation, Rx costs, and temporary construction of facilities.
State and Local Assistance There are literally hundreds of grants and emergency loans available from various States, Counties and Cities.
Payroll Tax Relief The types of tax relief and the availability is based on numerous factors, including the number of employees and whether the provider has received any money through the PPP.
- Tax credits for sick leave for COVID-19 self-care or others;
- Tax credits for employees who request leave for child care;
- Payroll Tax Deferral for payments due in 2020; and
- Employee Retention Tax Credits.
FEMA has a whole host of different programs available. The grants and assistance are mainly aimed at States, Tribes, and non-profit institutions.
Telehealth Perhaps one of the few benefits from COVID-19 is the substantial adoption of Telehealth, and the loosening of the associated burdensome regulations (that will probably become permanent). There are grants available to certain providers to purchase equipment and also to upgrade their networking facilities to allow for higher quality video transitions. The grants are mainly targeted towards underserved or rural areas, and are available from many different sources, including:
- The FCC;
- The USDA;
- The Health Resources & Services Administration;
- The Universal Service Administrative Company;
- NIH; and
- Various Foundations.