On November 30, 2020, the State of Ohio announced a new grant program to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 by improving indoor air quality at nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and adult day care centers. Through this program, funded by federal financial assistance under the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the CARES Act), each eligible facility may apply to receive up to $15,000 in reimbursement of costs incurred for inspections, assessments, maintenance, and improvements to Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems.
Importantly, because the text of the CARES Act limits use of the funds supporting this program to costs incurred “during the period that begins on March 1, 2020, and ends on December 30, 2020,” eligible facilities have only one month in which to prepare and submit their applications. Further, reimbursement is available only for goods installed, operational, and put in service (and/or services rendered) by the December 30 deadline, meaning facilities that have not yet undertaken any qualifying improvement projects have a very limited window of time within which to do so.
Facilities that have already received reimbursement for otherwise-qualifying projects will be ineligible to participate in the new program, although the prior receipt of coronavirus relief funding will not disqualify a facility so long as those funds were used for other appropriate purposes. This is a key point to keep in mind for those currently preparing to report on their use of HHS Provider Relief Fund payments through December 31, including many assisted living facilities (which were specifically targeted recipients of the recent Phase 3 General Distribution).
The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) will administer the program, and has provided FAQ guidance addressing permissible uses of the funds and specific applications of the eligibility criteria (available here). However, recipients should note that these funds will also be subject to reporting and record retention requirements established by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, including those described in the July 2 memorandum from the Treasury Office of Inspector General (available here).
The application form to participate in this program is available here.