Organized Dentistry Coalition supports two bills to improve Paycheck Protection Program

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Washington — The Organized Dentistry Coalition is supporting two efforts by Congress to reform the Paycheck Protection Program.

In a May 27 letter to Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Ben Cardin, D-Md., Susan Collins, R-Maine, Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the coalition thanked the lawmakers for introducing S 3833, the Paycheck Protection Program Extension Act. The bill would provide additional time for the forgiveness period beyond the loan’s current eight-week limitation and allow borrowers to use loan funds to purchase personal protective equipment.

“Our collective organizations have asked both federal agencies and Congress to make changes to the Paycheck Protection Program loan program. [The Paycheck Protection Program Extension Act] addresses many of these changes,” the dental groups wrote, adding that “enhanced personal protective equipment is particularly critical for dental offices due to the aerosols that are produced in oral health care procedures.”

The coalition also sent a May 27 letter to Reps. Chip Roy, and Dean Phillips, D-Minn., thanking them for introducing a similar bill, HR 7010, the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, which went on to pass the House May 28. The House bill also calls for extending the loan’s eight-week period and increases flexibility from the program’s original 75/25 breakdown to 60/40 for a business’ payroll vs. operating costs. The coalition said it supports the bill’s plan to defer payroll tax and introduce protections for employers who make “good faith efforts” to rehire employees.

“Given the fact that most dental practices are small businesses, access to small business loan programs through the Small Business Administration are a lifeline for our practice owners and their staff,” the dental groups wrote.

In both letters, the organizations pointed out that while many of their members dentists have taken advantage of Paycheck Protection Program loans, the program's lack of flexibility has left many dentists uncertain about how to use the funds so that they could maintain their businesses but still receive full loan forgiveness.

“Many of our members applied for and received funds before they were even able to open due to state or local restrictions on non-emergency procedures,” the organizations said.

The coalition also asked Congress to include additional provisions or consider for future legislation; chiefly, the addition of a tax credit or grant for businesses that received their Paycheck Protection Program loans early in the process and have made every effort to follow the rules — even without full guidance from the agencies — to achieve full loan forgiveness.

“Many dental offices hired their employees back even before they were allowed to reopen in order to comply with the intent of the CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program loan program,” the organizations wrote in both letters. “Those entities should be given additional compensation since they will likely not be able to take full advantage of the flexibility.”

The coalition also said it will continue to advocate for allowing 501(c)(6) organizations to apply for Paycheck Protection Program loans or other small business loan programs.

“We are supportive of the legislation and urge you to consider the additional flexibility we have highlighted in order to ensure that Paycheck Protection Program loans provide the best possible support for non-profits, dental practices and all small businesses nationwide,” the letters concluded.

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Editor’s note: After the House letter was sent, the bill number was changed from HR 6886 to HR 7010.