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Financial Resources During Covid-19

Over the past two weeks, there have been many quality guides, articles, and publications written in regard to practice financial assistance during the COVID-19 crisis.  The Arizona Medical Association has compiled several good resources here, with some basic information to get you started.

State Resources

  • The Arizona Commerce Authority’s COVID-19 Business Resources Guide:provides information on funding opportunities, workforce navigation services, manufacturing supports and ways the community is pitching in during this public health emergency. 
  • AZ Coronavirus Relief Fundwill provide financial support to organizations working to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 in Arizona. Initially, the fund will focus on the following immediate needs:
    • Funding of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline medical personnel.
    • Non-profit organizations that support the most vulnerable Arizonans through food banks, homeless shelters, domestic violence facilities, and other services.
    • Efforts to provide low-income students with technology enabling them to transition to online learning.
  • Arizona Together: an initiative to support Arizonans during the COVID-19 outbreak, connecting individuals and businesses to resources, raising money for community organizations and providing information on volunteer opportunities.
  • The Greater Phoenix Economic Council offers a quick reference to the 2020 CARES Act. You can download the summary  (English and Spanish) and reference this table for how it may apply to your business. Click the image below to download the full table provided by the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. 


    Reference: https://www.gpec.org/covid-19/financial-resources/
  • The Texas Medical Association produced a Practice Viability Toolkit that collates much of the information, resources, and links physicians need to make informed decisions about their practice’s viability during this pandemic. It provides some excellent financial tools and resources.  Although portions of the information are Texas-specific, Arizona physicians will still find it a valuable resource.  The toolkit is shared here with thanks to TMA. 
    • We would like to point out the very in-depth financial worksheet available within their Practice Viability Toolkit. We have made the worksheet available for download here. You can view further instructions for how to utilize this worksheet on page 12 of the Toolkit. 

Federal Resources 

 

US Chamber of Commerce

 

Resources provided by the US Chamber of Commerce include a guide to the Paycheck Protection Program. These resources are available in English and Spanish. 

 

Small Business Administration

 

The CARES Act also created a new employee retention tax credit for employers who are closed, partially closed, or experiencing significant revenue losses as a result of COVID-19. Find out more.

 

Small Business Administration Guidance includes detailed information and applications for Coronavirus Relief Options.

 

Paycheck Protection Program

 

The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payrollSBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.

 

You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program.

 

Lenders may begin processing loan applications as soon as April 3, 2020. The Paycheck Protection Program will be available through June 30, 2020.

 

For affiliation rules applicable for the Paycheck Protection Program, click here.

 

Who Can Apply

 

The following entities affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19) may be eligible:

  • Any small business concern that meets SBA’s size standards (either the industry based sized standard or the alternative size standard)
  • Any business, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, 501(c)(19) veterans organization, or Tribal business concern (sec. 31(b)(2)(C) of the Small Business Act) with the greater of:
    • 500 employees, or
    • That meets the SBA industry size standard if more than 500
  • Any business with a NAICS Code that begins with 72 (Accommodations and Food Services) that has more than one physical location and employs less than 500 per location
  • Sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed persons

Loan Details and Forgiveness

 

The loan will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities (due to likely high subscription, at least 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll). Loan payments will also be deferred for six months. No collateral or personal guarantees are required. Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees.

 

Forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels. Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease.

 

This loan has a maturity of 2 years and an interest rate of 1%.

 

If you wish to begin preparing your application, you can download a copy of the PPP borrower application form to see the information that will be requested from you when you apply with a lender.

 

Economic Injury Disaster Loans

  • The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
  • These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
  • The SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
  • The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance

 

This loan advance will provide up to $10,000 of economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary difficulties.

 

This advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Funds will be made available within three days of a successful application. This loan advance will not have to be repaid.

 

Eligibility

 

The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan provides vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

This program is for any small business with less than 500 employees (including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed persons), private non-profit organization or 501(c)(19) veterans organizations affected by COVID-19.

 

Businesses in certain industries may have more than 500 employees if they meet the SBA’s size standards for those industries.

 

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance funds will be made available within days of a successful application, and this loan advance will not have to be repaid.

 

To apply for a COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan and loan advance, click here.

 

SBA Express Bridge Loans

 

Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing and can be a term loans or used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan. If a small business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for decision and disbursement on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, they may qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan.

 

Terms

  • Up to $25,000
  • Fast turnaround
  • Will be repaid in full or in part by proceeds from the EIDL loan

 

SBA Debt Relief

 

As part of SBA's debt relief efforts,

  • The SBA will automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of current 7(a), 504, and microloans for a period of six months.
  • The SBA will also automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of new 7(a), 504, and microloans issued prior to September 27, 2020.

 

Additional Debt Relief

 

For current SBA Serviced Disaster (Home and Business) Loans: If your disaster loan was in “regular servicing” status on March 1, 2020, the SBA is providing automatic deferments through December 31, 2020.

 

What does an “automatic deferral” mean to borrowers?

  • Interest will continue to accrue on the loan.
  • 1201 monthly payment notices will continue to be mailed out which will reflect the loan is deferred and no payment is due.
  • The deferment will NOT cancel any established Preauthorized Debit (PAD) or recurring payments on your loan. Borrowers that have established a PAD through Pay.Gov or an OnLine Bill Pay Service are responsible for canceling these recurring payments. Borrowers that had SBA establish a PAD through Pay.gov will have to contact their SBA servicing office to cancel the PAD.
  • Borrowers preferring to continue making regular payments during the deferment period may continue remitting payments during the deferment period. SBA will apply those payments normally as if there was no deferment.
  • After this automatic deferment period, borrowers will be required to resume making regular principal and interest payments. Borrowers that cancelled recurring payments will need to reestablish the recurring payment.

For questions, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

 

American Medical Association 

 

CARES Act: Loans & other financial assistance for physician practices

 

Since April 17, 2020, when HHS announced it would begin disbursing the first $30 million of the emergency fund created under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to physicians and other providers via direct payment, the AMA has received several questions about how to verify eligibility for payment and who to contact when a physician believes they are eligible but did not receive a payment. HHS partnered with UnitedHealth Group (UHG) to deliver the stimulus payments, and physicians should contact UHG's Provider Relations at 866-569-3522 about eligibility, whether a payment has been issued, and where it was sent. Note, if a physician or practice did not already set up direct deposit through CMS or UHG's Optum Pay, they will receive a check at a later date. Practices that would like to set up direct deposit now can call the UHG Provider Relations number. 

 

In addition, HHS has opened the CARE Act Provider Relief Fund Payment Attestation Portal. Physicians who have been allocated a payment from the initial $30 billion general distribution must sign an attestation confirming receipt of the funds and agree to the terms and conditions within 30 days of payment. The terms and conditions are listed here

Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services 

 

Accelerated & Advance Payment Program

 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced an expansion of its accelerated and advance payment program for Medicare providers. Accelerated and advance Medicare payments provide emergency funding and address cash flow issues based on historical payments when there is a disruption in claims submission and/or claims processing. 

 

These expedited payments are typically offered in natural disasters to accelerate cash flow to the impacted health care providers and suppliers. In this situation, CMS is expanding the program for all Medicare providers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The payments can be requested by hospitals, doctors, medical equipment suppliers, and other Medicare Part A and Part B providers.

 

To qualify for accelerated or advance payments, the provider or supplier must:

  • Have billed Medicare for claims within 180 days immediately prior to the date request
  • Not be in bankruptcy,
  • Not be under active medical review or program integrity investigation, and
  • Not have any outstanding delinquent Medicare overpayments.

Bear in mind that advance payments must be repaid, either through recoupment of future payments or by establishing a repayment plan.  

 

Visit the Noridian Emergencies and Disasters page for an informational fact sheet on the accelerated and advance payment process and instructions on how to submit a request.The request form instructions for the Accelerated and Advance Payment Form [PDF] are located in the same document.

 

The request may be submitted to Noridian via email, fax or mail.

 

Internal Revenue Service

 

The IRS has issued information regarding financial assistance in the form of refundable tax credits. (When you're eligible to claim a credit that's refundable and if it's more than your total tax liability, the Internal Revenue Service will send you the balance of the money.)

 

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act(FFCRA)

 

FFCRA provides small and midsize employers refundable tax credits that reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing paid sick and family leave wages to their employees for leave related to COVID-19.The FFCRA gives small businesses funds to provide employees with paid sick and family and medical leave for reasons related to COVID-19. Leave may be used either for the employee's own health needs or to care for family members. Workers may receive up to 80 hours of paid sick leave for their own health needs or to care for others and up to an additional ten weeks of paid family leave to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed or child care provider is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions. The FFCRA covers the costs of this paid leave by providing small businesses with refundable tax credits. Certain self-employed individuals in similar circumstances are entitled to similar credits. COVID-19-Related Tax Credits for Required Paid Leave Provided by Small and Midsize Businesses FAQs

 

Do you still have questions about government-funded reimbursement for the coverage of uninsured individuals receiving COVID-19 related services? The Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) has created a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) and answers to help address any of your remaining concerns. Health care providers who have conducted COVID-19 testing of uninsured individuals, or provided treatment to uninsured individuals with a COVID-19 diagnosis on or after February 4, 2020, can request claims reimbursement electronically and will be reimbursed generally at Medicare rates, subject to available funding. Funding for this reimbursement program is being drawn from both the FFCRA and the Provider Relief Fund. Click here to read the FAQs and learn more about eligibility, compliance, and the payment process for the program.

 

Employee Retention Credit

 

The Employee Retention Credit is a fully refundable tax credit for employers who have closed or partially closed due to COVID-19 and have not received a Paycheck Protection Program loan. This tax credit is 50 percent of qualified wages that eligible employers pay their employees, up to $10,000 per employee. The credit applies to qualified wages paid after March 12, 2020, and before January 1, 2021. The refundable credits are applied toward the employer portion of payroll taxes.

 

Payroll Tax Credits

 

On March 20th, the U.S. Treasury Department, IRS and the U.S. Department of Labor announced new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to immediately and fully reimburse employers, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees. This relief to employees and small to midsize businesses is provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This includes up to 80 hours of paid sick leave for COVID-19 related instances and expanded paid childcare leave when employees' children's schools are closed or childcare providers are unavailable. It also offers employers complete coverage -- employers receive 100% reimbursement for paid leave pursuant to the Act. An immediate dollar-for-dollar tax offset against payroll taxes will be provided.

 

To take immediate advantage of the paid leave credits, businesses can retain and access funds that they would otherwise pay to the IRS in payroll taxes. If those amounts are not sufficient to cover the cost of paid leave, employers can seek an expedited advance from the IRS.

Read more about IRS assistance for businesses here.