What local health departments need to know about CARES Act funding and policy opportunities for COVID-19 response

April 10, 2020

A close-up of Benjamin Franklin on the 100 dollar bill, wearing a mask. It indicates a discussion on CARES Act funds.Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, Center for Health and Research Transformation (CHRT) staff members have been conducting rapid response research for Michigan policy leaders who are working proactively to protect vulnerable communities across the state. In this analysis for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, we explore funding and policy opportunities in the 2020 CARES Act, signed into law on March 27, 2020, that will be useful to local health departments. CARES Act funds are available for initiatives across the country working to stem the spread of COVID-19.

CHRT staff reviewed the extensive Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and assembled a corresponding list of CARES Act funding opportunities that local public health departments can explore to finance their COVID-19 response and relief efforts. The analysis also covers CARES Act policy flexibilities that may provide opportunities for local health departments to expand services.

The list includes funds for health centers and funding for non-traditional health programs that may be relevant to local health departments. We also discuss relevant amendments adding flexibility to current policies, including amendments related to COVID-19 testing and vaccination, telehealth, existing funding, and privacy and liability. Details are also provided on reauthorizations that may benefit local health departments.

For detailed information on funds that the CARES Act has made available to local health departments responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, read the full brief.