It’s obvious that the coronavirus pandemic has created a number of good news-bad news scenarios. As you’re perhaps already aware, a recent bad news scenario involves COVID-19 relief options for dentists.As of April 16, 2020 the Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that it would not accept new applications for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) due to lack of available funds.
There IS developing good news about COVID-19 relief options for dentists
Foremost is the recently announced good news from the ADA (American Dental Association).
”The Senate passed new coronavirus relief legislation April 21 calling for much-needed funding for depleted
federal loan programs that could help businesses nationwide, including dentists and dental practices, recover from the economic fallout of the pandemic.
The bill is expected to inject $370 billion into the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loans and emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loans grants.”
That bit of good news goes alongside the SBA continuing to process applications previously submitted to the EIDL program.
- This does not apply to the “grants” portion previously available.
- Each previously submitted application will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.
As a dentist you can also benefit from the ongoing advocacy of the ADA (American Dental Association) and from your specific state or government dental association. They continue to work with the Small Business Administration to assist you as a practice owner during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
A related article in from the ADA confirms their efforts on your behalf.
“We believe the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans being administered through the Small Business Administration are going to be vital in keeping dentists across the country from closing their practices,” wrote ADA President Chad P. Gehani and Executive Director Kathleen T. O’Loughlin in that April 10 letter.
The ADA believes additional funding “will be necessary to stem the closing of dental practices as well as millions of other small businesses, which could result in massive job losses and bankruptcies” and said the Association “strongly supports” increasing funding for both the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan grants to “the greatest extent possible” as additional funding “will help ease the burdens many dental practices and other small businesses are facing as the pandemic continues without an end in sight.”
The article also confirms continued requests to Congress from the Organized Dentistry Coalition and state dental societies (led by the ADA). They will be requesting additional funding and flexibility for available loans and grants.
In the meantime, additional COVID-19 relief options for dentists are available to you
Assistance is available from the SBA for a variety of scenarios you might experience during the Coronavirus pandemic or any similar incident.
- Capital Access – assistance for payroll, maintaining inventory, and handling market fluctuations (drops and surges).
- Workforce Capacity – the ability for you and your employees to fulfill their duties while protected.
- Inventory and Supply Chain Shortfalls – assurance of having adequate inventory supply for a sustained period and/or relative to a distributor diversification.
- Facility Remediation/Clean-up Costs – enhanced protection for (patients) and staff produced by surface and facility cleaning.
- Insurance Coverage Issues – available policy provisions that cover interruptions to business and its duration.
- Changing Market Demand – incidents that prohibit access or enforce restrictions relative to your facility or business services.
- Marketing – communication and promotional incentives related to your business’s operations and necessary protective measures that could be required.
- Planning – team interaction and response protocols around current or potentially improving or worsening incidents.
Available capital is the sweet-spot of COVID-19 relief options available to dentists
If you’re facing the need for resources to operate your dental practice (as a qualifying small business) the SBA can assist you. The following are among the loan resources you can request when connecting with a lender affiliated with the SBA.
This loan provides amounts up to $5,000,000. It’s an all-inclusive loan program made available by lending partners for eligible small businesses within the U.S. and its territories.
Loan utilization can involve:
- Working capital
- Expansion and/or renovation
- New construction
- Purchase of land, buildings, equipment, and fixtures
- Lease-hold improvements
- Debt refinancing due to compelling circumstances
- Seasonal line of credit
- Business start-up
Express loan program
You can apply for a loan amount up to $350,000 for no more than seven years with a revolving option.
A 36 hour turnaround period for approval or denial of a completed application is necessary.
The loan utilization is the same as with the 7(a) loan program.
Loans are distributed through nonprofit lending organizations to “underserved markets.”
You’re authorized to utilize funding for “working capital, supplies, machinery and equipment, and fixtures” (excluding real estate).
Consult with your financial advisor and/or lender for additional details about this list of relief options. Some resources will apply while others might not be as suitable to your current situation as a dentist.
Are there “special” and “private” assistance” COVID-19 relief options for dentists?
Special assistance is available beyond direct financial aid
“The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is lessening the financial burden on practices by expanding its accelerated and advance payment program to all Medicare providers and suppliers throughout the country.”
While the related language is geared toward physicians there could be cash flow relief available to you as a dentist (if you’re a qualified Medicare provider).
- Up to 100% of the Medicare payment can be requested for the previous three-month period
- Allowable payback period is 210 days
- Processing times are streamlined to four to six days (reduced from three to four weeks)
The CMS is supporting the use of telehealth services during the COVID-19 crisis by lifting related Medicare restrictions.
Small business tax provisions are provided by the CARES Act. Support includes:
- Employee retention credits
- Deferral of payroll tax payments
- Modification to limits on Charitable Contributions
Evictions have been banned by some states. If applicable, this would allow your practice more time to access funding for rent and/or mortgage payments. Zero-interest emergency unsecured loans and grants are also being encouraged in some states to assist with rent payments.
Private financial assistance has been made available from large corporations (tech companies, banks, etc)
- Amazon Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund has been extended as a grant to small businesses in specific Seattle neighborhoods heavily impacted by COVID-19. Most supported businesses rely on foot-traffic .
- The Facebook Small Business Grants Program prepared to extend $100 million in grants to a maximum of 30,000 businesses. The grants will be provided as Facebook ad credits and cash.
- The org Small Business Relief Fund provides one-time matching grants to businesses raising at least $500 in donations on the platform (until funds are depleted). Grants can be used for payroll and other ongoing cost obligations.
- Kiva Loans have been expanded by the lending program to U.S. small businesses affected by coronavirus. Zero-interest loans up to $15,000 are provided with a six-month grace period.
- The MainVest Zero-Interest Loan is provided via its Main Street Initiative. The provision grants $2,000 zero-interest loans to existing brick-and-mortar businesses impacted by the coronavirus crisis.
- Bank Payment Deferral Programs affiliated with banks and financial companies are working with customers affected by COVID-19. They extend fee waivers and payment deferrals. Check with your lending institution to inquire what they offer related to this program.
As a dental industry technology and software provider we’re in this together with you as a solo private practice, private group practice, or DSO.
Contact us for more information. We’re here to help you streamline your systems and operational tasks…and costs…now and in the future.