The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced that all dentists are now eligible to receive funding through the Provider Relief Fund for those impacted by COVID-19-related closings. Previously, dentists were not included as part of a Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) providers eligible to apply to the Medicaid Targeted Distribution portion of the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund. However, the American Dental Association's strong advocacy effort won the support of HHS to provide the much-needed relief to dentists.
It should be noted that these funds are not being treated as a loan or a grant. It is a payment amounting to a 2% reimbursement of annual reported patient revenue. Any past loan activity with the SBA, including the Economic Injury Disaster Loan or the Paycheck Protection Program, does not preclude eligibility for this HHS payment. But providers only have until July 24 to submit their application through the Enhanced Provider Relief Fund Payment Portal.
Dental providers must meet the following requirements to be eligible for funding:
- Cannot have received funds from the $50 billion Medicare-focused general distribution
- Must not have received payments from the Medicare-focused general distribution or the Medicaid CHIP distribution
- Must have filed a federal incomes tax return for fiscal years, 2017, 2018, or 2019 or be exempt from filing a federal income tax return
- Must have provided patient dental care after January 31, 2020
- Must not have permanently ceased providing care directly, or indirectly through subsidiaries
- Applications applying as individuals must have gross receipts or sales reported on their Schedule C form, Line 1, excluding W-2 income reported as a statutory employee
Dental providers who have previously received payments from the Medicare general distribution or the Medicaid and CHIP distribution – whether or not they returned the payment – are not eligible to apply. However, they may be eligible to apply for future fund distributions. HHS is likely to provide further guidance and clarification on this and other matters.