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Coronavirus: CARES Act could bring relief to independent practices


With provisions for small businesses, the legislation may save private practices.

money background

Help is on the way for private practices in the form of a $2.2 trillion spending package signed into law by President Donald J. Trump on March 27.

The CARES act, an 880-page behemoth of a bill which passed the senate 96 to zero in the wee hours of March 26, is expected to bring relief to citizens, big industries, and small business in the form of cash payments and loans.

As the COVID-19 coronavirus has limited in-person appointments, elective surgeries and procedures, and led to many statewide shelter in place orders, there are specific provisions in the bill that can be a big help for private practices feeling the crunch due to the current global pandemic.

To find out if your practice qualifies for these provisions contact the Small Business Administration, which has been tasked with administering the benefits made available by the act.

Through the Paycheck Protection Program, small businesses with less than 500 employees can receive a deferred loan with 100 percent federal participation during the period of Feb. 15 to June 30, 2020. There are still some limitations which include:

·      The sum of payroll payments must be less than $100,000 annually

·      No one employee can earn a salary of more than $100,000 annually

Independent practices with more than one location that have less than 500 employees at either location are also eligible for this provision along with those which operate under a sole proprietorship, self-employed individuals, and independent contractors but documentation will be necessary.

According to reporting to The New York Times, apportion of these loans will not need to be paid back if used for paying employees, a mortgage, rent, or utilities.

Medical Group Management Group Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Anders Gilberg released a statement shortly after the bill passed touting Congress’ inclusion of funding for healthcare systems.

“Now that Congress has acted, the Administration needs to move quickly and use all authority necessary to distribute direct payments to medical groups. Our nation’s physicians simply cannot afford another bureaucratic exercise to access these funds,” Gilberg says. “This is not business as usual, and medical practices need immediate financial support."

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Jennifer N. Lee, MD, FAAFP
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