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President Signs Historic COVID-19 Relief Package

On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law an estimated $2 trillion relief package in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.The omnibus legislation, the largest of its kind, includes support for hospitals, loans for small businesses and an expansion of unemployment insurance.

Here are some of the key provisions in the legislation of which ASRM’s members should be aware:

Emergency Small Business Loans

Emergency Small Business Administration loans of up to $10 million are available to help maintain operations (payroll, mortgage, rent, utilities and certain debt payments) for entities that existed on March 1, 2020. Employers that maintain employment between March 1 and June 30 would be eligible to have their loans forgiven. Available to small businesses and 501(c)(3)s, among others. Physician practices with 500 or fewer employees may qualify.

Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund

This provides $100 billion in direct financial support to hospitals, physician practices, and other health care providers. This support is for costs of treating COVID-19 patients, as well as to ease the financial impact on those who lose revenue due to reductions in other services as a result of the pandemic. Exact eligibility criteria and application instructions are pending determination and implementation. We will continue to monitor and update you.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans

Economic Injury Disaster Loans expanded, with creditworthiness requirements eliminated, to Tribal businesses, cooperatives and Employee Stock Ownership Plans from January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020.

Charitable Giving Incentive

A temporary universal charitable deduction of up to $300 available for cash-only, non-itemized tax filings. The current adjusted gross income limits will be temporarily suspended for charitable deductions for cash gifts. Available to individuals and businesses.

Employee Retention Payroll Tax Credit

Refundable payroll tax credits of up to $5,000 for each employee available to eligible employers that have seen at least 50% reduction in revenue in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the first quarter of 2019, among other qualifying conditions. Available to small businesses and 501(c)(3)s, among others.

Exchange Stabilization Fund

The U.S. Department of Treasury’s Exchange Stabilization Fund to create a loan guarantee program for major industries. Over $400 billion would be available to an eligible business, defined as “a United States business that has not otherwise received economic relief in the form of loans or loan guarantees provided under” the CARES Act, and employs 501-10,000 people. It is possible certain nonprofits will qualify.

Pandemic Liability Limitations

The legislation places limits on liability for volunteer health care professionals during COVID-19 emergency response.

Facilitating Telehealth Utilization

The legislation authorizes the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to waive telehealth coverage requirements for new patients during a national emergency. Earlier legislation only addressed waivers for existing (within the last three years) patients. Additionally, the Secretary is authorized to allow enhanced use of telehealth under Medicare for federally qualified health centers.

Unemployment Expansions

The legislation will increase unemployment insurance by $600 per week for four months. This amount is in addition to state-based unemployment base salaries and applies to furloughed workers who are still receiving health insurance through their employers, but not receiving a paycheck.

The ASRM Bulletin is published by ASRM's Office of Public Affairs to inform Society members of important recent developments. Republication or any other use of the contents of the Bulletin without permission is prohibited. To request permission to quote or excerpt material from the Bulletin, contact Sean Tipton at stipton@asrm.org.   

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