Time to Make New Plans!

May 18, 2021

There will be a flurry of activity at several levels over the next few months to accept, plan and distribute the America Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds which will be flowing to Virginia.  Understand that there are still questions about use, amounts that will be available, and timing.  But in short, it appears that Virginia will receive for state and local use more than $7.2 billion dollars and (because our unemployment is more than 2% higher than February 2020) we will receive the funds in a single payment.  That adds to the available funding by allowing interest to accrue on the $4.3 billion that are designated for State use and can be banked right away!

Funds, generally, can be used to support COVID-19 response efforts, replace lost revenue for eligible governments to strengthen vital services and help retain jobs, support immediate economic stabilization of households and businesses and address other public health and economic challenges (there are also limited uses for infrastructure).   There will also be $6.6 billion from other ARPA funds which are directed to specific purposes and there will be items of interest to us:

  • Extension of the federal pandemic-related unemployment through September 4th
  • Extends the payroll tax credits for paid sick and family leave (FFCRA) through September 30th
  • Provides additional funds for the Paycheck Protection Program and allows some to apply for a second draw PPP loan
  • Provides and option to receive a 10 percentage-point federal match increase for HCBS which is likely to provide  $200 – $300 million in supplemental funds – see the News Post of May 13th.

This is only the tip of the iceberg and does not include the CMS allowance for another round of retainer payments.  The message for today is simple – this will take time and planning; the majority of the distribution will need to be approved by the General assembly (scheduled to go into Special Session in either July or August.  We will keep you posted on the developments as we learn them. 

Also, the Joint Subcommittee for Health and Human Resources Oversight has met.  Two items of great interest are on their work plan:

  • Review of DMAS oversight of the MCOs, and
  • The guidance for use of the increased FMAP for HCBS (see above).

They also may consider some work of the study of the effectiveness of the current DBHDS Licensing tools and applications.