April 24, 2020
On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bipartisan “Interim Economic Relief” agreement that contains $485 billion in new COVID-19 pandemic funding assistance. President Trump signed the bill on Friday.
This package contains an additional $75 billion specifically earmarked for physicians and hospitals, $310 billion for small businesses, as well as $25 billion for COVID-19 testing.
The California Medical Association (CMA) aggressively advocated for Congress to provide more direct funding to physician practices, as well as to replenish the depleted Small Business Association (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program that provides forgivable loans to physician practices to cover operating expenses.
The legislation includes an additional $310 billion for the Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), after the program exhausted the original $350 billion in funding within two weeks. Physicians are encouraged, if they haven’t already done so, to contact their banks/lenders as soon as possible to ensure they are in line for the new funding once approved.
PPP loans are forgivable if physicians spend 75% of the loan on payroll. $50 billion is set aside for the existing SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program and another $10 billion in EIDL Advance Grants that do not need to be repaid. (For more information on these programs, see CMA’s COVID-19 Financial Toolkit for Medical Practices.)
The legislation also requires a national strategic plan for testing that will focus on increasing testing capacity, including testing supplies. The $25 billion is specifically intended for research, development, validation, manufacture, purchase and expanded capacity for COVID-19 tests. $11 billion of this funding is set-aside for states.
For more details, see CMA's legislative summary.