CARES Act 2020 Brain Health Update
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020 is a historic $2 trillion economic relief bill designed to offset the financial impact of the global coronavirus pandemic of 2020. On Friday, March 27, 2020, it was signed into law by the President after receiving bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. The CARES Act is the third large-scale Congressional effort in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The legislation provide a number of provisions to provide financial relief and resources to individuals, families and businesses particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. It also includes a number of important provisions directly related to health care, including mental health and telehealth, and veterans.
- The CARES Act includes a substantial allotment of funding—$ 19.6 billion— to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to cover treatment for Veterans with COVID-19 at VA hospitals and civilian urgent care clinics and emergency rooms, build out infrastructure that may be necessary to expand treatment at facilities experiencing increased demand, and provide personal protective equipment for employees and contractors who provide home care to Veterans to ensure the safety and well-being of Veterans being cared for in their home.
- The bill also significantly expands the ability of all healthcare providers to leverage telehealth and remote patient monitoring technologies to ensure American have the access to healthcare services they need while reducing risk by temporarily waiving the “in-person” visit requirement for telehealth services, which is generally required to establish a patient-provider relationship before a patient can receive telehealth services. A large component of this expanded telehealth is to expand mental health services delivered via telehealth through the VA and through Medicare, including allowing better access to high-speed internet services to reach individuals particularly vulnerable and those in rural communities.
- The bill also includes $425 million for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), including $250 million to Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics, $50 million for suicide prevention programs, and $100 million for emergency-response spending to target those most at risk for mental health and substance abuse, including the homeless.