President Donald Trump has signed a $2 trillion COVID-19 relief and stimulus package. The CARES Act includes provisions to support physicians and their practices. Last weekend, the ISMA signed onto a joint letter
to asking Congress to include relief for physicians and medical practices in this legislation.”
The following is a breakdown from the AMA of provisions of particular interest to physicians that are included in the new Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Stimulus (CARES) Act of 2020: :
- Creation of a new loan product within the Small Business Administration for loans of up to $10 million to help cover payroll and overhead costs, with expanded loan forgiveness criteria. Physician practices with up to 500 employees may qualify.
- $100 billion in direct financial support to hospitals, physician practices and other health care providers under the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund. 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. The exact eligibility criteria and application process is not yet defined, pending implementation.
- Suspension of the 2% Medicare sequester in May through December 2020.
- Limitations on liability for volunteer health care professionals during COVID-19 emergency response.
- A temporary waiver of the face-to-face visit requirement with home dialysis patients.
- Authority for the Secretary of HHS to waive telehealth coverage requirements for new patients during a national emergency. Previous legislation provided flexibility only for established patients seen within the past three years.
- Secretary will also allow for enhanced use of telehealth under Medicare for federally qualified health centers.
Additional guidance on the specifics of the new financial supports is forthcoming. ISMA will post those resources as they become available.
ISMA will continue to keep members updated on our work to make sure physicians have the resources they need to keep working, stay safe and care for patients during the pandemic.