Insights From Our Editors

Reopening Your Practice: Your Top Questions Answered

By Mark Wright, OD, Professional Editor, Review of Optometric Business
Bob Schultz, CEO, Vision One Credit Union

April 22, 2020

Planning carefully and efficiently to reopen your practice is essential. Here are answers to the top questions you sent us following last week’s webinar, “How to Reopen Your Practice.”

Disclaimer – The regulations have been updated periodically and may continue to change. Check with the for updates. Since forgiveness has not occurred at this point, inconsistencies in the regulations do not appear to have been resolved at this time.

Q: Must I meet both number of employees and dollars paid in payroll to get maximum PPP loan forgiveness?

A: Yes, according to the SBA web site. From the SBA regulations – “Forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels. Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease.”

Q: How does Family Leave impact the PPP calculations?

A: From the SBA FAQS – Question: Do PPP loans cover paid sick leave? Answer: Yes. PPP loans cover payroll costs, including costs for employee vacation, parental, family, medical and sick leave. However, the CARES Act excludes qualified sick and family leave wages for which a credit is allowed under sections 7001 and 7003 of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Public Law 116–127).

Q: How to handle a staff member who refuses to come back permanently?

A: Replace them. Temporarily, decide if you want to replace or not be fully forgiven on the PPP loan. You might keep their salary money to repay your PPP loan. There is no guidance yet regarding the forgiveness methodology or penalties that will be imposed.

Q: Do I have to maintain my 2019 staff numbers all the way until June 30, 2020?

A: Not that we have found in the regulations, appears to be just for the eight-week period for the forgiveness term.

Q: What happens if I cannot get my staff to return until week three of my eight-week PPP window?

A: The rules appear to indicate you will lose out on that part of the forgiveness of debt. Keep the cash from the PPP loan that would have gone to those salaries for payback.

Q: Is it 20 percent or 25 percent for other approved PPP expenses?

A: 25 percent

Q: During the PPP eight weeks, can you resume paying staff at 100 percent of their usual compensation, despite them employees only working about 50 percent of their normal hours?

A: Inclusion on payroll doesn’t mean you have to come to work, particularly if you are sheltering in place. Nor does it mean you have to work full time or even work at all. Inclusion on payroll fully and hours worked have no bearing on each other.

Q: How does it affect the PPP calculations for loan forgiveness and staff payroll if the governor of my state has shelter-in-place orders in effect until week four of my PPP eight weeks?

A: It doesn’t. Make sure the same FTE staff members have been hired back at their full pay. Just because staff is on payroll, doesn’t mean they come to work and violate shelter-in-place laws.

Q: “I received money from the federal government that was not PPP money. What is it and do I have to do anything?”

A: Those of you who saw Medicare patients in 2019 recently received money from the federal government as a result of the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund. It was automatically deposited in your account. It came as a result of  this announcement: “… the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is distributing $30 billion of the relief funds immediately. These are payments to healthcare providers, not loans, and will not need to be repaid.”

HERE is an example of the letter you should have received with the money from the federal government (the provider and practice information has been removed from the letter).

You must sign an attestation within 30 days of receiving the payment. “Within 30 days of receiving the payment, you must sign an attestation confirming receipt of the funds and agreeing to the terms and conditions of payment. Terms and conditions can be found HERE. The CARES Provider Relief Payment Portal for signing the attestation will be open the week of April 13, 2020, and will be linked from HERE.

HERE is the link to the attestation you must sign.

Don’t miss the 30-day deadline. If you’ve not completed this action before, then do it right now.


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