December 22, 2020
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:
COVID-19 Relief Legislation
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.