The President signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act into law in March. It is the most recent COVID-19 legislation created to provide financial relief and economic stimulus to those impacted by the Coronavirus. The relief package is wide ranging and includes provisions that impact treatment programs. In this Public Policy Update (PPU), we highlight those provisions for you, as well as provisions from previous legislation.
Substance Use Disorder-Specific Programs
Congress provided substantial additional funding through HHS/SAMHSA to existing block grant programs. Those funds were sent to individual states where there are some variances regarding qualifications and are designed to assist publicly funded providers. If you qualify, we encourage you to explore those options with your state authority. Most of these would be available through the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) and the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment (SAPT) division.
- Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Program
- The program supports the recruitment and retention of health professionals needed in underserved areas to expand access to SUD treatment and prevent overdose deaths.
- Healthcare Provider Relief Fund
- Qualified providers of health care services and support may receive Provider Relief Fund payments for healthcare-related expenses or lost revenue due to COVID-19. Separately, the COVID-19 Uninsured Program reimburses providers for testing and treating uninsured individuals with COVID-19. SUD providers were specifically made eligible.
- HUD/USDA Recovery Housing Assistance
- The Recovery Housing Program (RHP) allows states and the District of Columbia to provide stable, transitional housing for individuals in recovery from a substance use disorder. The funding covers a period of not more than two years or until the individual secures permanent housing, whichever is earlier.
- Telehealth Program Reimbursements
- The COVID-19 Telehealth Program provided $200 million in funding, appropriated by Congress as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, to help health care providers provide connected care services to patients at their homes or mobile locations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 Telehealth Program provides immediate support to eligible health care providers responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by fully funding their telecommunications services, information services, and devices necessary to provide critical connected care services. The current funding cycle for this program has closed, however another application cycle is expected.
Other Applicable Programs
- Employee Retention Credit
- This program was expanded and extended through December 31, 2021. The eligibility rules and qualified wages standards differ for 2020 and 2021, regarding employer size and amount of reduction in gross quarterly receipts. There may be a possibility of qualification even if a PPP Loan was received and forgiven.
- Paycheck Protection Program
- This program remained open through March 31, 2021, with new eligibility requirements that allowed previously ineligible businesses the opportunity to apply for a forgivable loan, a secondary forgivable loan, or an increase to an original loan already received.
- FFCRA Emergency Paid Sick and Family Leave
- This program was extended through September 30, 2021. Employers may continue to offer paid sick and family leave and receive a tax credit.
- Employer contributions to COBRA premiums may be claimed as tax credits on the quarterly 941 tax return for the second and third quarters of 2021.
Because the various relief packages have been so comprehensive, it can be challenging to wade through the details. Our goal is to assist in curating the potential list of programs for our membership
The foregoing information does not constitute legal or financial advice. Please consult legal and financial expertise for professional advice.