Senate Approves COVID-19 Relief Package That Would Add Funding for Hospitals and Small Business Loan Program

Bill includes $75 billion for hospitals, $310 billion for Paycheck Protection Program

The Senate this afternoon approved by voice vote the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act – a $484 billion COVID-19 relief package – which includes an additional $75 billion for hospitals, health systems and other health care providers. The $75 billion, which is in addition to the $100 billion included as part of the last COVID-19 package, would reimburse eligible health care providers for health care-related expenses or lost revenues not otherwise reimbursed that are directly attributable to COVID-19.

The package also includes an additional $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, which makes loan opportunities available for organizations with fewer than 500 total employees. These loans may be up to $10 million and may be forgivable if at least 75% of the loan is used for payroll costs, among other terms.

Among other provisions, the package provides $25 billion to support efforts to research, develop, validate, manufacture, purchase, administer and expand capacity for COVID-19 tests. Specifically, the funding includes $11 billion for states, localities, territories and tribes to develop, purchase, administer, process and analyze COVID-19 tests, scale-up laboratory capacity, trace contacts and support employer testing. It also provides $1.8 billion to the National Institutes of Health and $1 billion to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for additional testing efforts. In addition, the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary will be required to issue a report on the number of positive COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths disaggregated by race, ethnicity, sex, geographic region and other relevant factors within 180 days of enactment.

The House is expected to take up the package on Thursday. President Trump is expected to sign the bill.

AHA Take

The AHA thanks the Administration and leaders in Congress for working to boost funding for the emergency relief fund for hospitals and other providers on the front lines in this legislative package.

Hospitals and health systems are in a unique position because of the loss of revenue from non-emergency medical procedures while incurring increased costs due to preparing and responding to this public health emergency as it continues to spread throughout the country. The initial CARES Act funds have begun to be used by hospitals and health systems to increase capacity and provide care, and in some cases to keep access to care available by keeping the doors open. This additional funding will help ensure that critical care can continue to be provided by front line providers throughout the country. We also welcome the increased funding for the Paycheck Protection Program.