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Author: UCA Admin/Thursday, March 26, 2020/Categories: Industry News
Posted By Camille Bonta, MHS; Principal, Summit Health Care Consulting, and UCA Policy Consultant - UPDATED 3/27/2020
The U.S. Congress is poised to pass has passed a historic health care and economic relief and stimulus legislation in response to the COVID-19 outbreak — the biggest rescue package in U.S. history.
During negotiations, the Urgent Care Association (UCA) sent a letter to Capitol Hill asking lawmakers to provide relief to urgent care centers that are struggling on the front lines of the pandemic without access to protective personal equipment and COVID-19 tests. These challenges have been compounded by personnel shortages due to lack of childcare and illness, and patients not seeking care for fear being exposed to the virus, although urgent care centers are quickly adapting to telehealth. UCA’s letter was followed by a grassroots call to action, urging UCA members to contact their members of Congress.
Among the most consequential health care provisions of the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES)” is $100 billion in relief to health care providers who have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 response. Those eligible for relief funds are health care providers who provide diagnoses, testing, or care for individuals with possible or actual COVID-19 cases. Further instructions will be forthcoming from the Department of Health and Human Services following enactment of the legislation. The legislation also suspends the two percent Medicare sequestration, prevents scheduled reductions in Medicare payments for clinical diagnostic laboratory tests, and eliminates the Medicare requirement that a physician or other health care professional must have treated the patient in the past three years to be paid for telehealth during the COVID-19 emergency period.
In addition to infusing the Small Business Administration’s Disaster Loan Program with funding, the legislation also creates the Paycheck Protection Program, a $349 billion program to provide eight weeks of cash-flow assistance to small businesses through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. While small businesses and nonprofits would be eligible, the Senate has already signaled that its preference for prioritization is small business concerns and entities in underserved and rural markets, including veterans and members of the military community, small business concerns owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, women, and businesses in operation for less than two years.
UCA Summary of Key Provisions
Summary of CARES Unemployment and Tax Provisions
Summary of CARES Paycheck Protection Program
Summary of CARES Health Care Provisions
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