UPDATED: The deadline for dentists to apply is now August 3.
Dentists are now eligible to apply for financial assistance through the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund.
On July 10, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a change to the Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Provider Relief Fund. Before the change, only dentists who billed and received payment from Medicaid and CHIP were eligible for relief funds. Now, dentists that do not bill Medicaid and CHIP are eligible.
Under the CARES Act passed back in March, $175 billion was allocated to the Provider Relief Fund to help physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare providers fight COVID-19.
Dentists now have until July 24 to apply for the program. Dentists who apply are eligible for reimbursement of 2 percent of their annual reported patient revenue.
According to the American Dental Association, to be eligible to apply, a dental provider must meet all of the following requirements:
- Must not have received payment from the initial $50 billion Medicare-focused general distribution.
- Must not have received payment from the $15 billion Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program distribution.
- Must have filed a federal income tax return for fiscal years 2017, 2018 or 2019 or be an entity exempt from the requirement to file a federal income tax return and have no beneficial owner that is required to file a federal income tax return (for example, a state-owned hospital or health care clinic).
- Must have provided patient dental care after Jan. 31.
- Must not have permanently ceased providing patient dental care directly or indirectly through included subsidiaries. However, dental offices that shut down during the pandemic are eligible.
- If the applicant is an individual, have gross receipts or sales from providing patient dental care reported on Form 1040, Schedule C, Line 1, excluding income reported on a W-2 as a statutory employee.
The Department of Health and Human Services will use a curated list of dental practice Taxpayer Identification Numbers to determine eligibility, but it will work to validate applicants who are not on the list.
How to Apply
The application process includes providing HHS with tax returns, payroll records, revenue information, and billing information. It’s important to note that those who apply will have their annual practice revenue disclosed.
- First, you must establish an Optum ID, or Pin, which will be your connection to the portal.
- After you establish your PIN, you will have to upload your tax return and other information. Specifically, you will need the following:
- Your most recent federal tax return (2017, 2018 or 2019);
- First-quarter 2020 Form 941 or Form 940 Annual Federal Unemployment Tax Return,
- HHS’s FTE Worksheet (part of the application)
- HHS’s Gross Revenue Worksheet if required by Field 15 (part of the application)
Use of Funds
Under the Terms and Conditions, funds should only be used to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus and shall reimburse the recipient only for healthcare-related expenses or lost revenues that are attributable to the coronavirus.”
- supplies used to provide healthcare services for possible or actual COVID-19 patients;
- equipment used to provide healthcare services for possible or actual COVID-19 patients;
- workforce training;
- developing and staffing emergency operation centers;
- reporting COVID-19 test results to federal, state, or local governments;
- building or constructing temporary structures to expand capacity for COVID-19 patient care or to provide healthcare services to non-COVID-19 patients in a separate area from where COVID-19 patients are being treated;
- acquiring additional resources, including facilities, equipment, supplies, healthcare practices, staffing, and technology to expand or preserve care delivery
The dental industry was hit hard when the shutdown forced businesses to close their doors. This new funding opportunity is a good option for dentists looking for additional assistance. The funds are being distributed on a rolling basis and should be available within about a month after applying.
A few items that are important to note before applying. Within 90 days after receiving payment, you will have to attest to a series of Terms and Conditions. As mentioned previously, providers who apply should be comfortable with the public disclosure term. And lastly, these funds are considered taxable income.