On Thursday, April 23, 2020, the House of Representatives voted 388-5 to pass the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, sending the bill to President Trump for his signature. The Senate previously passed the legislation by unanimous consent on April 22 (in the form of an amendment to H.R. 266, introduced in 2019). This bill represents the fourth major package passed by Congress to address disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The new Act includes $75 billion (in addition to the $100 billion included in the CARES Act) for healthcare providers, as follows:
- Funds are to reimburse providers, generally, for “health care related expenses or lost revenues that are attributable to coronavirus…” (the same language used in the CARES Act)
- Approved uses specifically referenced in the bill include “building or construction of temporary structures, leasing of properties, medical supplies and equipment including personal protective equipment and testing supplies, increased work force and trainings, emergency operation centers, retrofitting facilities, and surge capacity:”
- “eligible healthcare providers” are defined as “public entities, Medicare or Medicaid enrolled suppliers and providers, and such for-profit entities and not-for-profit entities not otherwise described… that provide diagnoses, testing, or care for individuals with possible or actual cases of COVID-19….” This is similar to language in the CARES Act, which HHS has broadly interpreted in the past to mean, “Care does not have to be specific to treating COVID-19. HHS broadly views every patient as a possible case of COVID-19.” (https://www.hhs.gov/provider-relief/index.html )
- Funds are to be distributed “on a rolling basis” through an “application” that includes “a statement justifying the need of the provider for the payment….”
- Providers that receive funding must submit reports, maintain documentation, and “may not use funds to reimburse expenses or losses that have been reimbursed from other sources or that other sources are obligated to reimburse….”
The bill also includes $25 billion for COVID-19 testing and $6 billion for HHS Office of Inspector General for oversight activities. Other non-healthcare provisions, including additional appropriations for the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans are addressed elsewhere on the Butler Snow Coronavirus Hub.