President Trump released new guidelines outlining the White House’s plan for reopening the country from its current state of lockdown.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has distributed all $350 billion it received from Congress in the CARES Act for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The SBA is not accepting new PPP loan applications until Congress appropriates additional money for the program. The SBA is also unable to process new applications for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) for the same reason.
- Congress and the White House are continuing to negotiate new coronavirus relief legislation. House and Senate Republicans prefer to pass a stand-alone bill that provides upwards of $250 billion to the SBA for the PPP.
- Democrats want a larger bill that provides funding for many other programs in addition to the SBA including funding for the healthcare system and funding for state and local governments.
- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is also involved in the negotiations on behalf of the Administration.
- Congress is not scheduled to reconvene in Washington, D.C. until May 4. Congress will need to agree on a bill that can pass both Chambers by unanimous consent if it realistically wants to pass a bill before that date.
- The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) distributed $30 million of the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund. Funds are being distributed based on Tax Identification Numbers (TIN). Employed physicians or those who have assigned billing rights to a separate TIN, will need to contact the billing entity separately to receive the appropriate share of funds. If you believe you are eligible but did not receive a payment, or if you want to know if a payment was issued or where it was sent, contact the fund distributor – UnitedHealth Group’s (UHG) Provider Relations -at 866-569-3522.
- If your practice has not set up direct deposit with CMS or UHG’s Optum Pay, you will receive a check at a later time. If you would like to set up direct deposit now, contact UHG Provider Relations.
- The grant criteria require attestation confirming receipt of the funds and agreeing to the terms and conditions of the grant within 30 days of receiving payment. The Attestation Portal is now open! You’ll need your Tax Identification Number (TIN) to complete the attestation.
- A Provider Relief hotline is available at (866) 569-3522 to answer questions; terms and conditions of the grants are subject to further clarification by HHS, which we will pass along when available.
- Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma told reporters that CMS would make a second round of payments this week. Those payments will target “hot spots” and providers whose needs were not fully addressed in the first round.
- The first round of distributions, totaling $30 billion, was based on Medicare fee-for-service payments. Some provider types see a relatively low volume of Medicare patients and therefore could have received less funding than other provider types. CMS has an additional $70 billion available from the funding it received in the CARES Act to help the healthcare system.
- The first round of distributions was sent on Friday, April 10. This could mean the new round of distributions referenced by Administrator Verma could be distributed on Friday, April 17.
President Trump announced a new bipartisan advisory panel of U.S. Senators and Representatives to help advise him on how to reopen the U.S. economy.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) published its cost estimate for the CARES Act. The CBO believes the CARES Act will cost the federal government $1.8 trillion. Although the bill provides financial assistance totaling more than $2 trillion, the projected cost is less than that because some of that assistance is in the form of loan guarantees, which are not estimated to have a net effect on the federal budget.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is encouraging people who recovered from COVID-19 to donate their blood plasma to help researchers develop blood-related therapies.
CMS has approved 52 COVID-19 related emergency waivers, 31 state amendments, 11 COVID-19 related Medicaid Disaster Amendments and one Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) COVID-19 related Disaster Amendment in record time.