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Dentists encouraged to apply as soon as possible for HHS provider relief funding

Deadline to apply is Aug. 3

July 17, 2020

By Jennifer Garvin

Image of Phillip Fijal
Dr. Fijal
With the deadline rapidly approaching, the ADA continues to encourage dentists who have been impacted economically from the pandemic to apply to receive funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Provider Relief Fund.

The department announced earlier this month that non-Medicaid dentists with Tax Identification Numbers have until Aug. 3 to apply for funding through the Enhanced Provider Relief Fund Payment Portal. Dentists who are Medicaid and CHIP providers are also eligible to apply for funding and that deadline is also Aug. 3.

To secure relief funding for dentists, the ADA has worked closely with HHS and the Health Resources and Services Administration, which administers the fund, on this issue. As a result of this advocacy eligible dentists will receive a reimbursement of 2% of their annual reported patient revenue.

"The ADA Council on Government Affairs was proud to advocate for this important funding that will provide badly needed relief to dentists during the pandemic. We thank HHS for their support," said Dr. Phillip Fijal, chair, CGA.

Dr. Fijal, who completed his application to the Provider Relief Fund on July 17, encouraged his fellow dentists to apply, even though these types of applications can “sometimes be confusing and daunting.” He also recommended that applicants keep the help line number, 866-569-3522, handy for questions that come up during the process.

Below is an email conversation between Dr. Fijal and ADA News.

ADA News: How easy is the application to fill out? What information and materials did you need?

Dr. Fijal: With a little investigation and some preparation on the applicant’s part, the process went very smoothly. As you go into the pages of the website following the prompts “for providers,” you will find a set of instructions on how to fill out the form. You will need your tax forms from whatever entity you file as for any of the past three years — 2017-19 — as well as your Form 941, the Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return, for the first quarter of 2020. If you look at the instructions, which are listed for Medicaid providers as well non-Medicaid providers, including dentists, the process is very clearly laid out. Some hints: the application is sensitive to dashes and commas and won’t accept them, but within each box of information required [in the online form] that is explained. Also, you will be asked how much revenue you have lost because of the virus. This number must be listed as a negative, i.e. -200000, or whatever your number is. I tried to use parenthesis, but it wouldn’t take that number. When I used the negative sign it was accepted.

ADA News: Do you think it’s worth it to apply? How will this help your dental practice?

Dr. Fijal:
I ABSOLUTELY think it is worth applying for. Applications like this one that many dentists have filled out recently are somewhat foreign to us as dentists. I usually hand these off to my accountant or banker to fill out, but the provider relief application was a good exercise and really something only I could complete because of the way the process is laid out. The application has to be filled out in segments with verification of the previous step before an email alerts you that it is OK to continue. It took about a day and a half before my taxpayer identification number was verified before I could move on. When the pandemic first hit, we followed the ADA’s recommendation to close our doors to nonurgent procedures to help flatten the curve, which resulted in a huge loss of revenue. By advocating to get dentists included in CARES Act Provider Relief, this money has been allocated to help dentists just like myself. Any additional funds we receive will help offset bills that have piled up during the closure when little production was generated.

ADA News: How did the ADA advocate for dentists to receive these relief payments?

Dr. Fijal: The ADA Council on Government Affairs and the ADA Washington office played an important role for the ADA in advocating for this. Along with our work in securing Economic Injury Disaster Loan grants and loans and Paycheck Protection Program money, the provider relief fund will help dentists be made closer to whole. The ramifications of the virus, the shutdown, and future responses have had and will continue to have significant impact on our practices, our patients, and our personal lives. The ADA’s help in getting us closer financially helps tremendously when dealing with what is to come. Dentists around the country should be proud of our organization and how it responded for the entire profession. This is one of the clearest examples of the value of membership, and I pray those who aren’t members yet deeply consider what our Association has done for us.

The following dental providers are eligible:

• Dentists who have directly billed their state Medicaid/Children’s Health Insurance Programs or Medicaid managed care plans for health care-related services during the period of Jan. 1, 2018, to Dec. 31, 2019.
• Providers who own an included subsidiary that has either directly billed their state Medicaid/CHIP programs or Medicaid managed care plans for health care-related services during the period of Jan. 1, 2018, to Dec. 31, 2019.
• Providers who have either directly billed health insurance companies for oral health care-related services, or who own an included subsidiary that has directly billed health insurance companies for oral healthcare-related services.
• Licensed providers who do not accept insurance and have either directly billed patients for oral health care-related services, or who own (on the application date) an included subsidiary that does not accept insurance and has directly billed patients for oral health care-related services.

Eligible providers must also meet all of the following requirements:

• Not have received payment from the $50 billion General Medicare Distribution.
• 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).
• Have provided patient dental care after Jan. 31.
• 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.

Dentists who previously received payments from the General Medicare Distribution or the Medicaid and CHIP distribution — even if they rejected and returned the payment — are not eligible to apply now, but they may be eligible in future distributions of the fund, according to HHS. The ADA has been advocating for this eligibility restriction to be lifted.

For more information about the ADA's advocacy efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit ADA.org/COVID19Advocacy