HIDA Government Affairs Alert

December 22, 2020

COVID-19 Relief Legislation

Last night, after months of debate Congress voted to provide additional relief in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and packaged it with the 13 annual spending bills. The $900 billion COVID-19 package includes many healthcare-related provisions important to the supply chain and its provider customers.  Highlights are below:

Provisions for  Small Businesses

  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) - $284 billion
    • Allows businesses to deduct expenses associated with their forgiven PPP loans
    • Expands the employee retention credit intended to prevent layoffs.
    • Extends a payroll tax subsidy for employers offering workers paid sick leave

Provisions For Supplies and Testing

  • Vaccines, testing and tracing - $69 billion
    • Procurement of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics - $20 billion
    • CDC and states for vaccine distribution - $9 billion
    • Strategic national stockpile (SNS) - $3 billion
    • Help for states with testing, tracing and COVID-19 mitigation programs - $22 billion
    • GAVI, the international vaccine alliance - $4 billion

  • The SNS provision notes that funds may be used to develop and demonstrate innovations and enhancements to manufacturing platforms, prioritizing platform-based technologies with U.S.-based manufacturing capabilities, the purchase of vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, necessary medical supplies, as well as medical surge capacity.

Provisions For Providers

  • Support for healthcare providers - $9 billion
  • Compromise on ending “surprise” medical billing included that would limit what patients can be billed for out-of-network services to a fee that’s based on in-network charges. Insurers and service providers instead will submit their billing disputes to an independent dispute resolution process.
  • Hospice payment policy extended 2 years
  • A three-month extension of the Medicare sequester moratorium
  • A six-month delay for the radiation and oncology demonstration.
  • Inclusion of other bills related to:
    • Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation (MFAR)
    • Reporting requirements, Money Follows the Person (MFP)
    • Investigation of fraud in home based settings
    • Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT)
    • Independent at home demonstration
    • Value based purchasing programs
    • Waiver for oxygen products
    • Expanded telehealth
    • Increased rural reimbursements,

Additionally, the full text is available here and a more comprehensive summary of healthcare provisions here.

Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions at HIDAGovAffairs@HIDA.org or 703-549-4432.