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ADA Urges Senators to Keep Key Provisions in CARES Act
As tighter restrictions are placed on oral health professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Dental Association (ADA) is asking Congress to keep a number of provisions in the draft Senate bill that we believe will benefit dentists and dental practices.
As tighter restrictions are placed on oral health professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Dental Association (ADA) is asking Congress to keep a number of provisions in the draft Senate bill that will benefit dentists and dental practices. The Senate began to determine what provisions will be in the final version of the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act), the 3rd Legislative Package that Congress will pass to address the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On March 18, ADA leadership requested dental professionals reach out to senators and representatives to include programs focused on assisting dentistry in COVID-19 relief packages, which included the following measures:
- Easing and expediting the process for businesses to apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans through the Small Business Administration.
- Deferring all monthly payments on federal student loans for all health care professionals, including dentists, without penalty.
- Deferring or eliminating payroll tax matching and payments, as well as deferring quarterly income tax payments for small business owners.
- Providing additional tax cuts for small businesses, which could include expanding Section 199A to include all small businesses, regardless of income.
- Applying all telehealth deregulation to virtual check-ins for dental evaluations (teledentistry) and support payment for these services within both Medicaid, as well as commercial plans.
- Waiving an Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment Tax for 2020 for small business employers with less than 50 employees, or freeze the current rate.
- Requiring all business Interruption Insurance policies to cover national emergencies, including those related to diseases, such as COVID-19.
- Allowing for a one-time withdrawal without penalty from an individual’s 401k.
By March 23, the ADA announced: “our grassroots efforts over the last 48 hours regarding the CARES Act have been outstanding — 117,462 dentists have sent 358,535 emails to Capitol Hill.”
The CARES Act is the third legislative package in response to the coronavirus pandemic following the successful passage of an emergency funding bill and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The package contains a number of provisions important to dentistry, including Small Business Administration loan options and relief for student loan borrowers, according to the ADA.
In a March 18 letter to lawmakers, ADA leadership explained how the association is doing “its part to mitigate the spread of COVID-19” by asking dentists nationwide to postpone nonemergency procedures, and only treat emergency cases for the next three weeks.
“Unfortunately, many dental practices simply do not have the reserves or cannot accommodate the dramatic reduction of cash flow that is required during this partial shutdown,” the letter reads. “While tax credits are helpful, they will only provide for partial reimbursement, and those would occur months later. With the uncertainty resulting from the outbreak, dental practices now more than ever need adequate cash flow to keep their businesses viable and address staffing issues.”
Currently, the association is asking dental professionals reach out to members of Congress to let them know how important these provisions are for dental practices and other small businesses across the country. Take action now by filling out the form on the ADA Action Center’s website at: actioncenter.ada.org