April 10, 2020
First Batch of COVID-19 Federal Grants Released – Anesthesiologists Receive Funds
Additional Loan Program Also Unveiled for Larger Businesses
Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) began distribution of an initial $30 billion out of $100 billion allocated to physicians, hospitals and other health care providers through the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The $30 billion distribution is made directly to physicians and hospitals as a portion of their Medicare fee-for-service reimbursements in 2019. ASA is already aware of several anesthesia practices receiving their portion of these funds.
All health professionals and facilities that billed Medicare fee-for-service in 2019 are eligible for the funds, which are grants, not loans, and do not need to be repaid. The funds are automatically sent to each organization’s TIN which normally receives Medicare payments via Optum Bank with “HHSPAYMENT” as the description, not to each individual physician. Providers who normally receive a paper check for reimbursement from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will receive a paper check in the mail within the next few weeks.
Please note that within 30 days of receiving the payment, providers must sign an attestation on an online portal confirming receipt of the funds and agreeing to the terms and conditions of the payment. This online portal will open the week of April 13, 2020. To estimate a payment amount, a provider can divide their 2019 Medicare FFS (not including Medicare Advantage) payments by $484,000,000,000 and multiply that ratio by $30,000,000,000. Additional details about the distribution is available here: https://www.hhs.gov/provider-relief/index.html
Additionally, yesterday, the Federal Reserve provided details on a “Main Street” lending program for employers not eligible for the Small Business Administration loan program to assist those impacted by COVID-19. This program allows companies that employ up to 10,000 workers, or which have less than $2.5 billion in revenues, to access four-year loans. Through this program, the banks will originate the loans and retain a 5 percent share, but will sell the remainder to the Fed, and the Treasury will provide $75 billion in backup to protect the central bank. Companies seeking these loans must “commit to make reasonable efforts to maintain payroll and retain workers.”
ASA will continue to support programs through the Administration and Congress, including the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, that provide economic support to anesthesiologists during the COVID-19 pandemic.