Updated: Friday, April 29, 2020

If you are looking for current information on Coronavirus, please visit these resources for your county:

Sonoma County: 
Visit SoCoEmergency.org
Questions can be directed to Sonoma County 211 by calling 2-1-1

Marin County:
Visit Coronavirus.marinhhs.org

Napa County:
Visit: County of Napa/Coronavirus

Yolo County:
Visit: Yolocounty.org

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Congress Agrees on More Funding for Businesses and Health Care Sector

On April 22, Congress reached an agreement on “interim” stimulus funding aimed at small businesses and the health care sector. The Senate, House, and President are expected to approve and sign this funding by the end of the week.

Because Congress is on recess until May 4, and not currently in DC, each body would need to pass this funding with 100% agreement. If all Senators can agree, the Senate is expected to approve this funding today. However, the House of Representatives does not have a unanimous agreement and is expected to hold a vote on Thursday, giving Congressional members time to return to DC for the vote.

$484 billion interim stimulus funding includes:

Funding for small businesses and organizations

  • $310 billion to restart the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program

    • $10 billion for administrative costs, such as fees paid to lenders participating in the program

    • $60 billion of the PPP funding would be set aside specifically for smaller lenders and those serving communities where banks administering the program are limited

  • $50 billion more for SBA emergency disaster loans

  • $10 billion for grants of up to $10,000 each that disaster loan recipients can obtain, and $2.1 billion for administrative costs

Funding for health care and testing

  • $75 billion for the Public Health Social Services Emergency Fund for hospitals and other health care facilities to help treat patients with the virus and address funding shortfalls

  • $25 billion for more COVID-19 tests divided between the local, state and federal government; and for a national strategic plan

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CARES Act Provides Financial Relief to Health Centers

On March 27, Congress passed and the White House signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a $2 trillion funding package that addresses an array of sectors that have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The CARES Act includes $140.4 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services as well as an injection of funding for individuals, businesses, states, and local governments. You can find more details here. 

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (HHS) – $140.4 billion 

  • Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund ($127 billion)
  • Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention ($4.3 billion)
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) ($945.5 million)
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ($200 million)

Financial Support Available to Health Centers
The CARES Act also provides specific financial support for health care providers. We will share additional information as we learn more about how our health centers can access these funds.

Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund: This provision provides financial relief to health care providers for expenses incurred due to the coronavirus, as well as revenue losses. “Health care providers” is defined broadly and includes hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, FQHCs, rural health clinics, health home aids, etc. Health centers can be reimbursed for expenses incurred for supplies as well as labor, staffing, training, etc. According to the bill, there will also be grants and loans available for future costs.

HHS has not yet released guidance on how to apply for these funds, but RCHC is closely tracking this and will update our members when info is available.

Small Business Administration Loans for Nonprofits: The CARES Act also provided relief to nonprofit employers through the Small Business Administration. According to CalNonprofits, two types of assistance is available:

  • The Disaster Assistance Program or Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program provides low-interest loans to nonprofits of all sizes. Nonprofits, including health centers, can secure loans of up to $2 million to be used to pay payroll, accounts payable, debts, and other bills that can’t be paid due the impact of COVID-19; the interest rate for nonprofits is 2.75%. The CARES Act expands this program to include an emergency advance, pending a loan application, of up to $10,000 that the SBA must distribute to the nonprofit within three days. The COVID-19 EIDL application is here.
  • The 7(A) or Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provides loans of up to $10 million to nonprofits with less than 500 employees. These loans can cover expenses incurred between February 15 – June 30, 2020, for payroll, health benefits, rent, interest on mortgages, utilities, and fixed debts. Interest rates are capped at 4%, but portions of the loan (payroll, rent, interest on mortgages, and utilities) can be forgiven, turning the loan into a grant. The amount is forgiven, up to 100%, depends on the extent to which the nonprofit retains employees through June 30. A sample application is available here; an online application process is not yet available.

We encourage our members to contact the Northern California Small Business Development Centers (Norcal SBDC) to get information about these loans, how to apply, and what documentation you’ll need to provide.

FEMA – Congress allocated FEMA $45 billion for local, state, and tribal governments to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. Under Public Assistance, Category B, governments can be reimbursed for:

  • Medical supplies, including personal protective equipment, and the purchase and distribution of supplies such as food, water, ice, etc. Other eligible activities are listed here. 
  • Non-congregate housing or “medical sheltering” for specific populations:
    • Those who test positive for COVID-19 who do not require hospitalization but need isolation
    • Those who have been exposed to COVID-19 who do not require hospitalization
    • High-risk individuals (such as people over age 65, those with underlying medical conditions) needing social distancing or isolation to prevent contracting the illness

In order for non-congregate housing to be reimbursed, a local, state, or tribal public health official must certify the need for isolation or quarantine for non-congregant sheltering and support services. Please consult FEMA’s Frequently Asked Questions for more details. 

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More Resources for Health Centers are Needed

While we appreciate the additional funds for health centers, we know that health centers will need more to sustain our workforce challenges and operations during the #COVID19 pandemic.

Congress is considering a fourth stimulus funding bill. We are following this closely and encourage you to contact your Member of Congress today to share your story about how you continue to help Californians during this pandemic and the challenges you face.