Healthcare Providers

Cases of COVID-19 continue to rise, contributing to financial pressures across our community, including to our healthcare provider organizations and individual practices. To help our PCMH providers, as well as independent practices in certain specialty areas, CareFirst is accelerating funding to numerous provider organizations in Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia.

CareFirst Accelerated Payment Program

In April 2020, CareFirst announced our Accelerated Payment program, which offered temporary advanced funding for certain PCMH practices, independent OBGYN, dental and behavioral health providers who needed additional assistance. At this time, CareFirst is no longer accepting applications for this program.

Provider Assistance

Through the CARES Act and FFCRA, relief for hospitals and providers are being implemented by federal agencies through direct payments, grants and other mechanisms. Funding and relief programs are outlined below.

A $1.4 trillion year-end spending package, “the Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 133)” was signed into law on December 27, which provides $3 billion additional funding to the Provider Relief Fund. It also provides increased reporting and payment flexibilities for providers applying for or using these relief funds. More guidance will be released regarding these additional federal assistance for hospitals and providers.

Expand All | Collapse All

Program Information

Provides $100 billion to reimburse through grants or other mechanisms to eligible health care providers for health care related expenses or lost revenues that are attributable to coronavirus.

Funding Details

Summary of Provider Relief Fund Payments and Methodologies

Funds may be used for construction of temporary structures, leasing of properties, medical supplies and equipment, including personal protective equipment and testing supplies, increased workforce and trainings, emergency operation centers, retrofitting facilities, and surge capacity.

General Allocation: $50 billion is allocated for general distribution to Medicare facilities and providers, based on eligible providers’ 2018 net patient revenue.

  • $30 billion was distributed based on providers’ 2019 Medicare FFS reimbursement; $26 billion was directly deposited into bank accounts on April 10; $4 billion was sent on April 17.
  • HHS began distribution of the remaining $20 billion to providers with relatively small share of revenue coming from Medicare FFS, such as children’s hospitals.
  • See here for a list of providers who have received payments under the General Allocation as of October 1.
  • Reminder: providers need to take action by June 3, 2020. Providers must accept the HHS Terms and Conditions and submit revenue information to be considered for additional Relief Fund General Distribution payment.

Phase 3 General Allocation: $24.5 billion is available for distribution. Providers that have already received Provider Relief Fund payments will be invited to apply for additional funding that considers financial losses and changes in operating expenses caused by the coronavirus. Previously ineligible providers, such as those who began practicing in 2020 will also be invited to apply, and an expanded group of behavioral health providers will also be eligible for relief payments.

To be eligible to apply, the applicant must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Billed Medicaid / CHIP programs or Medicaid managed care plans for health-related services between January 1, 2018-March 31, 2020; or  
  • Billed a health insurance company for oral healthcare-related services as a dental service provider as of March 31, 2020; or 
  • Be a licensed dental service provider as of March 31, 2020 who does not accept insurance and has billed patients for oral healthcare-related services; or 
  • Billed Medicare fee-for-service during the period of January 1, 2019-March 31, 2020; or 
  • Be a Medicare Part A provider that experienced a CMS approved change in ownership prior to August 10, 2020; or 
  • Be a state-licensed / certified assisted living facility as of March 31, 2020 
  • Be a behavioral health provider as of March 31, 2020 who has billed a health insurance company or who does not accept insurance and has billed patients for healthcare-related services as of March 31, 2020

Additionally, to be eligible to apply, the applicant must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Filed a federal income tax return for fiscal years 2017, 2018, 2019 if in operation before January 1, 2020; or be exempt from filing a return; and
  • Provided patient care after January 31, 2020 (Note: patient care includes healthcare, services and support, as provided in a medical setting, at home or in the community); and
  • Did not permanently cease providing patient care directly or indirectly; and
  • For individuals providing care before January 1, 2020, have gross receipts or sales from patient care reported on Form 1040 (or other tax form)

Targeted Allocation:

  • Allocation for COVID-19 High Impact Areas: On May 1, HHS began distributing $12 billion via direct deposit to 395 hospitals in hot spot/high impact areas:
    • $10 of the $12 billion is based on the number of COVID-19 patients served by a hospital through April 10.
    • Any hospital who reported serving 100 or more COVID-19 patients through the portal HHS set up in April is receiving funding. 
    • The distribution was based on a simple formula: hospitals are paid a fixed amount per COVID-19 inpatient admission, with an adjustment added on top.
    • The adjustment on top – a total of $2 billion - is added to the hospitals in proportion to the amount of care they provide to low-income and uninsured patients. The funding amount is based on their Medicare and Medicaid disproportionate share and uncompensated care payments. 
    • Overall, those 395 hospitals receiving funding represent 71% of COVID-19 admissions.
    • See here on pages 1-2 for list of the number of providers receiving funding and the allocation of funding by state.
    • See here for a list of specific providers who received a payment from the fund. 
    • On June 9, HHS announced that it will determine recipients of a second round of $10 billion in funding for hospitals in COVID-19 “hot-spots” based on their COVID-19 positive-inpatient admissions for the period January 1, 2020 through June 10, 2020.
    • On July 17, HHS announced it will begin distributing $10 billion in a second round of high impact COVID-19 area funding to hospitals. Funding will be distributed to hospitals in high-impact areas based on hospital-submitted COVID-19 inpatient admissions data for the period between January 1, 2020 and June, 10, 2020. 
  • Allocation for Treatment of the Uninsured: Every health care provider who has provided treatment for uninsured COVID-19 patients on or after February 4, 2020, can request claims reimbursement through the program COVID-19 Uninsured Program Portal and will be reimbursed at Medicare rates, subject to available funding. In addition to the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund, the program is funded through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Relief Fund, and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, which each appropriated $1 billion for reimbursements.
    • Reimbursement will be made for qualifying testing for COVID-19 and treatment services with a primary COVID-19 diagnosis.
    • Treatment without a COVID-19 primary diagnosis and services not covered by traditional Medicare will not be covered under this program (except for pregnancy when the COVID-19 code may be listed as secondary). In addition, the following services are excluded:
      • Air and water ambulance
      • Hospice services
      • Outpatient prescription drugs covered under Medicare Part D
    • Providers will not be able to balance bill these patients and may be subject to post-reimbursement audit.
    • On June 3, CDC posted dataset on hospitals receiving reimbursement for testing and treating uninsured COVID-19 patient.
  • Allocation for Rural Providers: On May 1, HHS began distributing $10 billion via direct deposit to 7,988 providers in 56 states and territories, including rural health clinics, rural acute care general hospitals, critical access hospitals, and community health centers in rural areas.
    • Hospitals and RHCs will each receive a minimum base payment, plus a percent of their annual expenses. This expense-based method accounts for operating cost and lost revenue incurred by rural hospitals for both inpatient and outpatient services.
    • The base payment will account for RHCs with no reported Medicare claims, such as pediatric RHCs, and CHCs lacking expense data, by ensuring that all clinical, non-hospital sites receive a minimum level of support no less than $100,000, with additional payment based on operating expenses.
    • Rural acute care general hospitals and CAHs will receive a minimum level of support of no less than $1,000,000, with additional payment based on operating expenses.
    • See here on pages 5-6 for a list of providers receiving funding and the allocation of funding by state and territory.
    • See here for a list of providers receiving funding from HRSA
  • Allocation for Indian Health Service: On May 22, HHS announced $500 million in payments to the Indian Health Service and tribal hospitals, clinics, and urban centers to support the tribal response to COVID-19. Funds were distributed based on operating expenses and population.
    • On May 28, HHS through HRSA awarded $15 million to 52 Tribes, Tribal organizations, urban Indian health organizations, and other health services providers to Tribes across 20 states. 
  • Allocation for SNFs: HHS announced $4.9 billion in funding to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). Each SNF will receive a fixed distribution of $50,000, plus a distribution of $2,500 per bed. All certified SNFs with six or more beds are eligible for this targeted distribution. HHS suggests that these funds can be used by the nursing home to scale up their testing capacity. 
    • On July 23, HHS/CMS announced $5 billion additional Provider Relief Fund to Medicare-certified long term care facilities and state veterans’ homes (“nursing homes”). This funding could be used to address critical needs in nursing homes including hiring additional staff, implementing infection control “mentorship” programs with subject matter experts, increasing testing, and providing additional services, such as technology so residents can connect with their families if they are not able to visit.
    • Nursing homes must participate in the Nursing Home COVID-19 Training to be qualified to receive this funding
  • Allocation to Medicaid and CHIP Providers: on June 9, HHS, through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), announced distribution of approximately $15 billion to eligible providers that participate in state Medicaid and CHIP programs.
    • HHS is launching an enhanced Provider Relief Fund Payment Portal that will allow eligible Medicaid and CHIP providers to report their annual patient revenue, which will be used as a factor in determining their Provider Relief Fund payment.
    • The payment to each provider will be at least 2 percent of reported gross revenue from patient care; the final amount each provider receives will be determined after the data is submitted, including information about the number of Medicaid patients that providers serve.
    • To be eligible for this funding, health care providers must not have received payments from the $50 billion Provider Relief Fund General Distribution and either have directly billed their state Medicaid/CHIP programs or Medicaid managed care plans for healthcare-related services between January 1, 2018, to May 31, 2020
  • Allocation for Safety Net Hospitals: on June 9, HHS is also announcing the distribution of $10 billion to safety net hospitals.
    • Qualifying hospitals will have:
      • A Medicare Disproportionate Payment Percentage (DPP) of 20.2 percent or greater;
      • Average Uncompensated Care per bed of $25,000 or more. For example, a hospital with 100 beds would need to provide $2,500,000 in Uncompensated Care in a year to meet this requirement;
      • Profitability of 3 percent or less, as reported to CMS in its most recently filed Cost Report
    • Recipients will receive a minimum distribution of $5 million and a maximum distribution of $50 million.
    • On July 10, HHS announced approximately $3 billion to 215 safety net hospitals serving a large percentage of vulnerable populations on thin margins, who did not quality for funding from the initial announcement. HHS is now expanding the criterion for payment qualification so that certain acute care hospitals meeting the revised profitability threshold of less than 3% (averaged consecutively over two or more of the last five cost reporting periods) as reported to CMS in its Cost Report filings, will now be eligible for payment. HHS is also providing $1 billion to 500 specialty rural hospitals, urban hospitals with certain rural Medicare designations, and hospitals in small metropolitan areas
  • Hospital preparedness:  HHS through the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) awarded $250 million to health care systems responding to COVID-19. This is in addition to the $100 million released in April. The funds will support hospitals and other health care entities to train workforce, expand telemedicine, procure supplies and equipment and coordinate regional, state and local efforts. The funds will also support the National Special Pathogen System that includes training and education center, 62 HHS hospital preparedness program recipients and their pathogen treatment centers, and hospital associations. (state-by-state funding)
    • The White House announced plans to distribute $11 billion to states based on a formula that considers the prevalence of the coronavirus in states and their overall population.
    • Dental providers: on July 10, HHS is opening the provider portal to allow dentists to apply for relief. Eligible dentists will receive a reimbursement of two percent of their annual reported patient revenue and will have until July 24, 2020 to apply.
    • HHS through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced $5 billion CARES Act Provider Relief Fund for nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
      • HHS, through HRSA announced $2 billion Provider Relief Fund performance-based incentive payment distribution to nursing homes. This distribution is the latest update in the previously announced $5 billion in planned support to nursing homes grappling with the impact of COVID-19.
      • To qualify for payments under the incentive program, a facility must have an active state certification as a nursing home or skilled nursing facility (SNF) and receive reimbursement from CMS.
      • The incentive payment program is scheduled to be divided into four performance periods (September, October, November, December), lasting a month each with $500 million available to nursing homes in each period. Using data from the CDC, HHS will measure nursing homes against a baseline level of infection in the community where a given facility is located. Facilities will have their performance measured on two outcomes:
        • Ability to keep new COVID infection rates low among residents
        • Ability to keep COVID mortality low among residents 
      • On October 28, HHS announced that it will distribute $333 million in first round performance payments to over 10,000 nursing homes under the incentive program
    • HHS, through the Health Resources and Services (HRSA), announced an additional $1.4 billion to 80 free-standing children’s hospitals nationwide.
      • See here for a preliminary state-by state breakdown on distributions, which began on August 17 is here.
  • HHS through HRSA announced that assisted living facilities may now apply for funding under the Phase 2 General Distribution allocation.  

Eligibility

As a condition to receiving these funds, providers must agree not to seek collection of OOP payment from a presumptive or actual COVID-19 patient that are greater than what the patient would have otherwise been required to pay if the care had been provided by an in-network provider (i.e. no surprise billing).

Timeline

General Allocation:

  • The first $30 billion was direct deposited on April 10 and April 17.
  • For the remaining $20 billion: payments will go out weekly, on a rolling basis, as information is validated, with the first wave being delivered by April 24.

Targeted Allocation:

  • Allocation for Treatment of the Uninsured:  Electronic claim submission began on May 6th. Providers began receiving reimbursement in mid-May. HRSA is updating the latest info on this website: https://www.hrsa.gov/coviduninsuredclaim.

  • Allocation for COVID-19 hot spot hospitals: On Monday, June 8, 2020, HHS sent communications to all hospitals asking them to update information on their COVID-19 positive-inpatient admissions for the period January 1, 2020, through June 10, 2020.

    • This information will be used to determine a second round of funding to hospitals in COVID-19 hotspots to ensure they are equitably supported in the battle against this pandemic.
    • To determine their eligibility for funding under this $10 billion distribution, hospitals must submit their information by June 15, 2020 at 9:00 PM ET.
  • Allocation for Rural Providers: Funding will be distributed as early as the week of April 27.
  • Allocation for Indian Health Service: Funding will be distributed as early as the week of April 27.
  • Allocation for Medicaid, Medicaid managed care, CHIP, dental, and certain Medicare providers: HHS has extended the deadline to apply for funding to August 28, 2020 through the portal.

Phase 3 distribution: HHS began distributing funding on December 15.

Application Process

For Phase 3 General Distribution see application information here.

  1. Determine Eligibility      
  2. Validate Tax ID Number (TIN)
  3. Apply for Funding
  4. Receive Payment
  5. Attest to Payment
  6. Report on Use of Funds

Targeted Allocation:

      • Allocation for Treatment of the Uninsured: For health care providers requesting claims reimbursement, they need to follow these steps: enrolling as a provider participant, checking patient eligibility and benefits, submitting patient information, submitting claims, and receiving payment via direct deposit. Updated information can be found on the HRSA site, including the sign up process. To participate, providers must attest to the following:
        • You have checked for health care coverage eligibility and confirmed that the patient is uninsured.
        • You have verified that the patient does not have individual, employer-sponsored, Medicare or Medicaid coverage, and no other payer will reimburse you for COVID-19 testing and/or care for that patient.
        • You will accept defined program reimbursement as payment in full.
        • You agree not to balance bill the patient.
        • You agree to program terms and conditions and may be subject to post-reimbursement audit review.

Additional Information

CARES Act Provider Relief Fund:

  1. For Providers
  2. For Patients
  3. General Information
  4. Data
  5. Reporting and Auditing
  6. FAQs

Program Information

Provided $106 billion in loans to providers and suppliers in March. Including:

  • 22,000 Part A providers, totaling more than $98 billion in accelerated payments.
  • More than 28,000 Part B suppliers—including doctors, non-physician practitioners and Durable Medical Equipment (DME) suppliers—received advance payments totaling more than $8.5 billion..

Funding Details and Timeline:

CMS announced new repayment terms for these Medicare loans: Providers were required to make payments starting in August of this year, but with this action, repayment will be delayed until one year after payment was issued. After that first year, Medicare will automatically recoup 25 percent of Medicare payments otherwise owed to the provider or supplier for eleven months.  At the end of the eleven-month period, recoupment will increase to 50 percent for another six months.  If the provider or supplier is unable to repay the total amount of the AAP during this time-period (a total of 29 months), CMS will issue letters requiring repayment of any outstanding balance, subject to an interest rate of four percent.

CMS also provided guidance on how to request an Extended Repayment Schedule (ERS) for providers and suppliers who are experiencing financial hardships.

To allow even more flexibility in paying back the loans, the $175 billion issued in Provider Relief funds can be used towards repayment of these Medicare loans

Program Information

Provides $200 million to promote telehealth for low-income consumers at their homes or mobile locations and ensure access to connected care services and devices in response to COVID-19.

Funding Details

Funding will be used for eligible health care providers to purchase telecommunications services, information services, and devices necessary to provide critical connected care services, whether for treatment of coronavirus or other health conditions during the coronavirus pandemic.

Each award cannot be more than $1 million.

Eligibility

Eligible providers in rural or urban areas: (1) post-secondary educational institutions offering health care instruction, teaching hospitals, and medical schools; (2) community health centers (3) local health departments (4) community mental health centers; (5) not-for-profit hospitals; (6) rural health clinics; (7) skilled nursing facilities; or (8) other health care providers.

Applicants must obtain an eligibility determination from the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC).

Timeline

The application portal opened on Monday, April 13 at 12 pm ET.

The program is reviewing applicants on a rolling basis from now until the funding is expensed or the current pandemic has ended.

Application Process

FCC public notice outlines application process

Steps parties can take in advance of filing an application:

Additional Information

Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act

H.R. 266, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act was signed into law by the President. Dubbed “Package 3.5”, the $484 billion interim relief package provides additional funding for small businesses, providers, and COVID-19 testing, including an additional $75 billion for the Provider Relief Fund for hospitals and healthcare providers to support COVID-19-related expenses and lost revenue.

On May 7, HHS, through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), awarded nearly $583 million, authorized from the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, to 1,385 HRSA-funded health centers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and eight U.S. territories to expand COVID-19 testing.

  1. Nearly 88 percent of HRSA-funded health centers report testing patients, with more than 65 percent offering walk-up or drive-up testing. Health centers are currently providing more than 100,000 weekly COVID-19 tests in their local communities.
  2. These investments build upon the $1.42 billion HRSA has already awarded to health centers to address COVID-19.
  3. See here for a list of providers receiving funding from HRSA

On May 20, HRSA announced an additional $225 million for COVID-19 Testing to 4,500 rural health clinics. These investments will support COVID-19 testing efforts and expand access to testing in rural communities.

On June 11, HRSA awarded $8 million to 73 organizations to expand COVID-19 training and technical assistance for health centers.

  • Primary Care Associations (PCAs) received nearly $6 million to conduct COVID-19 T/TA activities based on the needs of states and regions.
  • National Training and Technical Assistance Partners (NTTAP) received $2.5 million to enhance their COVID-19 T/TA to health centers, including strengthening health center operations and capacity to ensure access to comprehensive primary care services.

On June 18, HRSA awarded $107.2 million to 310 recipients to grow and train the health workforce in rural and underserved communities, across 45 states and U.S. territories.

On July 9, HRSA awarded $21 million to 78 Health Center Program look-alikes to expand capacity for COVID-19 testing. HRSA also awarded $4.5 million to support the COVID-19 response of Health Center Controlled Networks (HCCNs) to strengthen health IT support necessary to effectively prevent, prepare for and respond to COVID-19.


Funding for Testing

HHS announced the delivery of more than $11 billion in new funding to support COVID-19 testing efforts. Specifically, the CDC will provide $10.25 billion to states, territories, and local jurisdictions through CDC’s existing Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases (ELC) cooperative agreement, and the Indian Health Service (IHS) will provide $750 million to IHS, tribal, and urban Indian Health programs to expand testing capacity and testing-related activities (funding recipients).

NIH awarded $234 million to improve COVID-19 testing for underserved and vulnerable populations. A part of the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative, the RADx Underserved Populations (RADx-UP) program will support 32 institutions across the United States and will focus on populations disproportionately affected by the pandemic. The program aims to understand COVID-19 testing patterns better among underserved and vulnerable populations; strengthen the data on disparities in infection rates, disease progression and outcomes; and develop strategies to reduce these disparities in COVID-19 testing.

Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC)

HSCRC is allowing hospitals to increase unit rates by approximately 5% as their volumes have declined substantially.

In line with the CARES Act provision, the agency is evaluating ways to implement the potential Medicare rate increase for inpatient COVID-19 cases, but no guidance has been released yet.

DC Enacted “COVID-19 Response Supplemental Amendment Act of 2020” (B23-0733/B23-0734)

Provides hospital support funding through grants to eligible hospitals.

Grant amounts will be based on an allocation formula based on the number of beds or other methods.

Hospitals can use the grants to cover medical supplies and equipment, personnel costs, and costs of constructing and operating temporary sites.

While funding has been allocated, additional guidance on how to apply for these grants is still to come.

DC Contingency Cash Reserve Fund for COVID-19 Medical Surge

Mayor Bowser directed $35 million of the District’s Contingency Cash Reserve Fund to provide support to hospitals for the need for increased medical services.

Suspension of mandated Medicare sequestration cuts

2% increase in Medicare payment across the board.

Enhanced Medicare inpatient payment

20% enhanced Medicare inpatient payment for services provided to patients with a COVID-19 diagnosis.

Federal Nurse Education Grants

For FY2021-2025, $137 million for nurse education and practice grants and activities.

Federal Student Loan Program

To provide relief for student loan borrowers, federal student loan borrowers are automatically placed in administrative forbearance with 0% interest for the following types of loans: 

  • Defaulted and non-defaulted Direct Loans;
  • Defaulted and non-defaulted FFEL Programs Loans
  • Federal Perkins Loans

Students can contact their loan servicer to determine if their loans are eligible for 0% temporary interest rate.

President Biden signed an Executive Order to extend the pause on federal student loan interest and principal payment through the end of September.

Hospital Preparedness Program Grants

$250 million in funding for grants or cooperative agreements with grantees or sub-grantees of the Hospital Preparedness Program or that meet other criteria to be established by HHS.

Increase in federal payments to states

$4 billion increase in federal payments to states for uncompensated care funding through delayed cuts to the Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments.

Assistance to Community Health Centers

HHS/HRSA awarded $1.32 billion in supplemental funding to 1,387 Community Health Centers for FY2020 for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.

HHS/HRSA awarded $117 million in quality improvement awards to 1,318 health centers across all states, territories and D.C. HRSA-funded health centers will use these funds to strengthen quality improvement activities and expand quality primary care service delivery.

Funding for Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program

HHS/HRSA awarded $90 million for 581 Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program recipients in FY2020 across the country, including city/county health departments, health clinics, community-based organizations, state health departments, and AIDS Education and Training Centers.

Rural health

HHS/HRSA Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) awarded $165 million to 1,779 small rural hospitals and provides additional funding to 14 HRSA-funded telehealth resource centers to provide technical assistance on telehealth to help rural and underserved areas.

In response to the President's Executive Order on Improving Rural Health and Telehealth Access, HHS/HRSA awarded over $35 million to increase access to high-quality healthcare in rural communities. The awards reflect investments to more than 50 rural organizations across 33 states in key areas, including telehealth, health workforce training, health research, and technical assistance for vulnerable rural hospitals and HIV care and treatment.

Additional Assistance to Support Telehealth

HHS/HRSA Bureau of Health Workforce awarded $15 million to 159 organizations across five health workforce programs to increase telehealth capabilities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These investments will train students, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, allied health and other high-demand professionals to maximize telehealth for COVID-19 referrals for screening and testing, case management, outpatient care, and other essential care during the crisis.

HHS/HRSA Federal Office of Rural Health Policy awarded $5 million to two recipients through the Licensure Portability Grant Program to assist telehealth clinicians nationally on licensure and credentialing. Recipients will work with professional and state licensing boards and compacts to develop a streamlined process for telehealth clinicians to obtain multi-state licensure.

See here for a list of FY2020 COVID-19 Workforce Telehealth Awardees

HHS/HRSA awarded $8 million to fund the Telehealth Broadband Pilot (TBP) program. The TBP program assesses the broadband capacity available to rural healthcare providers and patient communities to improve their access to telehealth services.

  • $6.5 million was awarded to the National Telehealth Technology Assessment Resource Center (TTAC), based out of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. The TTAC will implement the TBP in four state community locations, including Alaska, Michigan, Texas and West Virginia. TTAC will also work with the Rural Telehealth Initiative's federal partners to improve rural communities' access to broadband and telehealth services through existing funding opportunities and grant programs.
  • HRSA's Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) also awarded the Telehealth-Focused Rural Health Research Center through the University of Arkansas $1.5 million to evaluate the TBP program across all participating communities and to serve as a resource on telehealth for rural communities around the nation.

Funding for behavioral health

$425 million in funding for SAMSHA for Health Surveillance and Program Support; to remain available through FY 2021, to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally:

SAMHSA is providing $40 million in emergency grants for suicide prevention. The grants will support states and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic in advancing efforts to prevent suicide and suicide attempts among adults 25 and older in order to reduce the overall suicide rate and number of suicides in the United States. The program also includes a special focus on victims of domestic violence.

Funding for vaccines

HHS and CDC announced that they are providing $200 million CARES Act funding to 64 jurisdictions to provide infrastructure support for COVID-19 vaccine preparedness.

  • Funding recipients are existing grantees through CDC’s Immunizations and Vaccines for Children cooperative agreement

Expand All | Collapse All

Business Assistance

Federal and state business assistance programs can provide low-interest loans, grants and tax relief if certain conditions are met. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, signed into law on December 27, 2020, extended deadline and applicability dates of several federal assistance programs, including the Paycheck Protection Program. These programs will be updated in the coming weeks as additional federal guidance is released. For Maryland county-specific grant programs, please see Maryland’s COVID-19 business support website.

Expand All | Collapse All

Program Information

Provides quick turnaround loans to overcome an immediate loss of revenue for businesses that have an established business relationship with a Small Business Administration (SBA) lender.

Funding Details

Loans with quick application times of up to $25,000. Provides cash flow for businesses waiting on a decision and disbursement of an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).

Loan will be repaid with proceeds from the EIDL.

Eligibility

Must be a small business operating for profit.

Must have been an operating business as of March 13, 2020 and be adversely impacted by COVID-19.

Must also have an established banking relationship with an SBA Express Lender.

Timeline

Must apply through March 13, 2021.

Application Process

Contact your local Small Business Development Center or SBA Express Loan Lender for more information on how to apply.

Required documentation will include an IRS tax transcript, documentation providing an existing financial relationship between the business and the lender and a borrower information form.

Additional Information

SBA Express Bridge Loan website

SBA Express Bridge Loan Program Guide

Program Information

Encourages employers who are not able to provide services due to COVID-19 to keep employees on their payroll by providing payroll tax credits per employee.

NOTE: The Consolidated Appropriations Act, signed into law on December 27, 2020, extends the tax credits through July 1, 2021, and increases the amount of the credit.

Funding Details

The tax credit covers 70% of the qualified wages each employee is paid. The maximum amount of wages taken into account is $10,000, so employers will receive a maximum of $14,000 per employee.

Eligibility

Any business that either:

  • Fully or partially suspends operations in 2020 due to COVID-19, or
  • Experiences a significant decline in gross receipts during the calendar quarter (i.e., 50% less compared to same quarter in 2019).

Government employees are not eligible for this credit.

Self-employed individuals are not eligible for this credit for their self-employment earnings.

Businesses may take both the Employee Tax Credit and participate in the Paycheck Protection Program

Timeline

Applies to wages paid between March 12, 2020 and July 1, 2021.

Application Process

  1. Report total qualified leave wages for each quarter on the federal employment tax return, typically form 941.
  2. Employers may retain federal employment taxes to provide qualified leave wages to their employees. If the taxes set aside are not sufficient, request a credit advance by completing Form 7200.
  3. If requesting an advance, fax a completed Form 7200 to the IRS at 855-248-0552.

Additional Information

IRS Employment Retention Credit announcement

Infographic on new tax credits

IRS Employment Retention Credit FAQs

Program Information

The CARES Act allows employers to delay and defer estimated quarterly tax payments and employer payroll taxes.

NOTE: The Consolidated Appropriations Act, signed into law on December 27, 2020, extends the tax credits through March 2021.

Eligibility

Not applicable if the employer has had indebtedness forgiven under the Paycheck Protection Program.

However, if the employer has received a Paycheck Protection Program loan, but it has not yet been forgiven, the employer may defer taxes until the lender issues a decision to forgive the loan.

Timeline

Applies to wages between March 27, 2020 through March 2021.

Deferred payroll taxes are due in two installments: 50% by December 31, 2021, and 50% by December 31, 2022.

Additional Information

Deferred employment taxes FAQs

Program Information

Issued by the Small Business Administration (SBA), provides forgivable loans for small businesses to keep workers on the payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, signed into law on December 27, 2020, reopened the Paycheck Protection Program.

NOTE: Starting Wednesday, February 24, 2021, the SBA established a 14-day, exclusive PPP loan application period for businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 20 employees

Funding Details

100% of the loan can be forgiven if during the 8 to 24-week period following loan disbursement:

  • Employee and compensation levels are maintained
  • The loan proceeds are spent on payroll costs and other eligible expenses
  • At least 60% are spent on payroll costs

Loan payments are deferred until the loan is forgiven. If a borrower does not apply for loan forgiveness, payments are deferred for 10 months after the end of the period of loan forgiveness (8 or 24 weeks)

Loans have an interest rate of 1% and maturity of five years

Loans can be used to fund payroll costs, including benefits, and may also be used to pay for mortgage interest, rent, utilities, worker protection costs related to COVID-19, uninsured property damage costs caused by looting or vandalism during 2020, and certain supplier costs and expenses for operations.

For First Time PPP Loans, the loans can be up to 2.5 times the average monthly payroll, subject to a $10 million cap

For Second Time PPP Loans, the loans can be up to 2.5 times average monthly payroll, subject to a $2 million cap. For borrowers in the Accommodation or Food Services Sector (see here) the max loan amount is 3.5 times up to $2 million.

Eligibility

First Time PPP Loans: Those that have not previously received a PPP loan, that are:

  • Sole proprietor, independent contractor or self-employed
  • Any small business concern that meets SBA’s size standards (either the industry size standard or the alternative size standard, see SBA’s size-based tool for more information)
  • Any business, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, 501(c)(19) veterans organization or tribal business concern (sec. 31(b)(2)(C) of the Small Business Act) with the greater of:
    • 500 employees, or
    • That meets the SBA industry size standard if > 500
  • Any business with a NAICS code that begins with 72 (Accommodations and Food Services) that has more than one physical location and employs less than 500 per location.

Second Time PPP Loan:

  • Previously received a First Draw PPP Loan and will or has used the full amount only for authorized uses
  • Has no more than 300 employees; and
  • Can demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020.

Timeline

Apply by March 31, 2021

Application Process

  1. Complete the Paycheck Protection Program loan application (separate applications for first time and second time borrowers) and assemble payroll documentation
  2. Submit the application and required documentation to an approved SBA lender. See SBA’s Lender Match tool for a list of lenders in your area.
  3. To apply for forgiveness, contact your lender and complete the appropriate form.

Additional Information

Program Information

Issued by the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) provides working capital loans and loan advances for payroll and operating expenses for businesses impacted by COVID-19.

NOTE: As of June 15, this program is available to both agricultural businesses and all other small businesses.

NOTE: While loans are still available, the loan advance of up to $10,000 is no longer available.

Funding Details

The EIDL provides low interest loans of up to $2 million with principal and interest deferment at the Administrator’s discretion.

Can be combined with a Paycheck Protection Loan as long as they don’t cover the same expenses.

Eligibility

Any business with 500 or fewer employees is eligible to apply.

Agricultural businesses under 500 employees are also eligible. Includes those engaged in the production of food and fiber, ranching, and raising of livestock, aquaculture, and all other farming and agricultural related industries.

Business must have 500 or fewer employees to apply.

Timeline

Subject to funding availability

Application Process

Apply here.

Additional Information

EIDL advance website

Expand All | Collapse All