Summary of FQHC-Relevant Provisions in Most Recent Federal Relief Bill
Updated: Mar 29, 2020
After several days of negotiations, the Senate passed the third bipartisan stimulus bill on March 25th by a vote of 96-0. It is expected that the House will pass the bill by voice vote quickly thereafter and President is expected to sign the bill into law once it is sent to him. Click here for the bill text.
There are several provisions in the bill that will impact health centers and their patients. A longer summary of key health center provisions is available here.
A few highlights:
Emergency Funding for Health Centers: $1.32 billion for FY20 for “supplemental awards under subsection (d) for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 or the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of COVID-19.”
Short-Term Fix for Primary Care Cliff (CHCF, NHSC, THCGME): Provides flat funding through November 30, 2020, for all three programs
Telehealth Flexibility for the Duration of the Crisis: Authorizes Medicare reimbursement for health centers and rural health clinics as distant sites for the duration of the emergency, not reimbursed at PPS rate but instead “such payment methods shall be based on payment rates that are similar to the national average payment rates for comparable telehealth services under the physician fee schedule under section 1848.”
Grant Funding to Help Health Care Providers Offset Revenue Loss Due to COVID-19: Provides $100 billion for a new program to provide grants to health care institutions on the frontlines of the crisis - hospitals, public entities, not-for-profit entities, and Medicare and Medicaid enrolled suppliers and institutional providers - to cover unreimbursed health care related expenses or lost revenues attributable to this public health emergency. Health centers are eligible entities based on this criteria.
SBA Loans to Support Small Businesses, including Non-Profits: Provides a total of $349 billion for loan guarantees through the 7(a) Paycheck Protection Program at the Small Business Administration, which can be used for payroll support (such as employee salaries, paid sick or medical leave), insurance premiums, and mortgage, rent, and utility payments (removes language from an earlier draft that would have effectively prohibited health centers from accessing these loans).