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Stimulus Package Moving Through Senate - update 3/25/20 - 6 PM ET

  • 1.  Stimulus Package Moving Through Senate - update 3/25/20 - 6 PM ET

    National Council Staff
    Posted 03-25-2020 18:10

    Dear Association Executives - Despite reports of an agreement on the latest coronavirus stimulus package, the Senate remains deep into negotiations over the bill's details. The situation remains fluid, but we want to provide you with an update on what we know as of 6pm today, bearing in mind that all of these draft provisions are still subject to change.

    We do not know when we will see final language, but will provide further updates as we know more. Stay tuned for more information and don't hesitate to let us know if you have questions.


    The latest draft we have seen includes new funding for health care providers to address the impact of COVID-19. These include:

    • SAMHSA: $425 Million Emergency Allocation: This includes $250 million that the National Council is advocating to be available for all community behavioral health organizations; $50 million for suicide prevention programs; $100 million for SAMHSA programs generally, and $15 million for tribes. Full details on how the funds will be distributed are not yet available.
    • Coronavirus Relief Fund: $150 billion for states and local governments covering expenditures due to COVID-19. Each state will receive a minimum of $1.25 billion.
    • Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund: $100 billion in direct aid to health care institutions on the front line of the crisis - Per our reading of this line item, National Council members are eligible to receive funds from this allocation, at the discretion of the HHS Secretary.
    • Child Care Development Block Grant Childcare: $3.5 billion to childcare assistance for essential workers which may include behavioral health providers. This is determined at the state level.
    • Distance Learning, Telemedicine, and Broadband Program: $25 million to improve distance learning and telemedicine in rural America. Includes additional $100 million funds to increase broadband access.
    • Administration for Community Living: $955 million to support nutrition programs, home and community-based services, and protections for people living with disabilities.


    The draft also include many policy changes designed to support employers and expand access to care. The National Council continues to analyze these sections and will provide further updates.

    • Provisions for Employers:
      • Provides Emergency Unemployment Relief and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation for certain employers.
      • Provides tax relief and a deferral period for payroll taxes for certain employers. We continue to analyze these provisions and will provide another update.
      • Employer shall not be required to pay more than $200 per day and $10,000 in the aggregate for each employee under FMLA
      • Employer shall not be required to pay more than $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate for sick leave or more than $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate to care for a quarantined individual or child for each employee under paid sick leave provisions
      • Allows employers to receive an advance tax credit from Treasury instead of having to be reimbursed on the back end
    • Modification of Limitations on Charitable Contributions During 2020: Permits greater use of charitable deductions through Dec. 2020.
    • Flexibility for Members of National Health Service Corps During National Emergency: Provides flexibility in the site of service locations for NHSC participants.
    • Confidentiality and Disclosure of SUD Records and Guidance on Protected Health Information: While we are hearing that these provisions are still being negotiated, the latest draft includes language indicating that SUD records may be shared with prior written consent; once consent is obtained, it is permissible for patient consent to be given once for all future uses for treatment, payment and health care operations.
    • Extension and 2-State Expansion of CCBHCs: The draft includes:
      • Extension of current demonstration through Nov. 30, 2020.
      • Expansion of demonstration to two additional states within 6 months. The two states shall be selected based on the applications previously submitted to SAMHSA-essentially, allowing the two states that would have been next in line to participate without submission of any additional application materials. An enhanced federal match rate is available for the first 8 quarters of the demonstration for new states, and for the 8 quarters beginning 1/1/2020 for the eight current demonstration states.


    • Small Business Loans: Language prohibiting Medicaid non-profits from accessing the loan money is still being debated as of 5 pm ET. We will keep members updated as we learn more.
    • "Distant Site" fix: Community behavioral health organizations were not included in the "distant site" fix that would allow FQHCs and rural health centers to serve as distant locations for Medicare telehealth. The National Council will continue working to advocate for this fix.

    Chuck Ingoglia

    President & CEO

    National Council for Behavioral Health

    Direct: (202) 684-3749

    Reyna Taylor

    Vice President, Public Policy

    National Council for Behavioral Health

    Direct: 202-774-1651

    Neal Comstock
    Director of Membership
    National Council
    202 748-8793