A Breakdown of CARES Act Financial Resources for the COVID-19 Pandemic
News | Published: Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Updated April 1
Article from ACC.org
On March 27, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law by President Trump. The $2.2 trillion bill, the largest financial and healthcare recovery package in U.S. history, is the third significant piece of legislation signed into law to support Americans dealing with the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.
This legislation passed after significant advocacy efforts from the CV community, including grassroots action by roughly 6,000 ACC and MedAxiom members who contacted their legislators to voice their knowledge and concerns about necessary COVID-19 measures.
The Act is a mix of economic stimulus and support for the healthcare system. Clinicians may benefit from programs relevant to both stimulus and healthcare components:
- Resources for Small and Medium Practices: The Small Business Administration (SBA) has posted information about the Paycheck Protection Program created by CARES that supplements its general COVID-19 guidance for businesses. An overview of the program, borrower fact sheet, and borrower application are now posted on the Department of Treasure Website. Businesses can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating.
SBA continues to offer low-interest economic injury disaster loans to businesses and nonprofits impacted by COVID-19. Under Section 1102 of the Act, it will administer the Paycheck Protection Program – loans to businesses impacted by COVID-19 to cover payroll costs, group health, sick leave, family leave, salaries, mortgage interest, rent, utilities and debt interest. Section 1106 of the Act allows payroll costs, mortgage interest rent, and utilities for the eight weeks after the loan was originated to be forgiven pending certain criteria, mainly retention of employees. The Small Business Administration also has additional guidance for businesses. Look for additional information in the coming days.
- Resources for Large Practices: Economic stabilization measures in Section 5003 include measures to provide liquidity to eligible businesses, states and municipalities that incurred losses as a result of coronavirus. The Department of the Treasury will administer a program of loans, loan guarantees, and other investments to bolster the economy. Assistance for mid-sized businesses of 500-10,000 employees will be available through the financing of direct loans with interest rates no higher than 2 percent.
- Resources for Public Health: Significant funds are directed to the secretary of Health and Human Services by Title VIII of the bill for a Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund to reimburse healthcare providers for healthcare-related expenses or lost revenues attributable to COVID-19 through grants or other mechanisms. This appropriation has been commonly reported as “hospital” funding, but it is universal, and practices of any size may consider pursuing compensation for losses not accounted for elsewhere.
Resources for States: Section 5001 of the Act creates a Coronavirus Relief Fund that directs money to state, tribal and local governments to support expenditures necessary to respond to the outbreak. These funds will be used to fill gaps in budgets created by response efforts. It is possible that this will be used towards programs that benefit healthcare providers through reimbursement programs.
See a comprehensive list of federal programs here.