House Dems ‘Heroes Act’ Legislation – National Council Summary

May 14, 2020

Please see below for a summary (from the National Council) of the sections of the ‘HEROES Act ‘ that most directly impact National Council members.  Remember:  This is an opening shot in the negotiations that we hope will now rev up between the parties on the Hill. ultimately leading to a deal that will deliver additional specific assistance to states, localities and behavioral health providers!

For further details on the bill released yesterday click here for the full text of the bill and click here for the full section-by-section summary from the House. 

About the Summary Below:

The summary of provisions below references appropriations for each general topic area.  Within each general provision there is specific legislative language that further explicates how the pot of money would be spent. 

For instance, there is a Hazard Pay proposal within the 1400 page bill, referred to as a ‘Heroes Fund’ (page 1537-1538 of the bill).  It defines “essential work” (includes BH services but not telehealth or telephonic) and permits employers that apply for and receive grants to pay client-facing essential workers $13 per hour premium pay on top of regular wages. Essential workers are eligible for up to $10,000 (“highly compensated” essential workers earning above $200,000, up to $5,000) for work performed from January 27, 2020 until 60 days after the last day of the COVID–19 Public Health Emergency. 

We also want to remind you that the list compiled by the National Council (below) does not include the significant gains we made in terms of opening up the Paycheck Protection Program to C-6 organizations, and for employers with more than 500 employees!

Final FNote:  The specific $38.5B ‘ask’ by the National Council, ASAM and other national and state organizations for our sector does not appear to be included in the bill as such.  However the bill does include significant resources that would assist our programs and services specifically.  But at the end of the day we don’t think the total amount of help adds up to $38.5 billion.  I would be delighted to be wrong about this!

More on this as we continue to break down the bill.

(National Council summary)


  • $1.5 billion for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant
  • $1 billion for the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant
  • $100 million for Project AWARE (which includes Mental Health First Aid in schools)
  • $10 million for the National Child Traumatic Stress Network
  • $265 million for emergency response grants to address immediate behavioral health needs as a result of COVID-19
  • $25 million for the Suicide Lifeline and Disaster Distress Helpline
  • $150 million for tribes, tribal organizations, urban Indian health organizations, or health service providers to tribes across a variety of programs
  • Establishes a technical assistance center at SAMHSA that will support public or nonprofit entities and public health professionals seeking to establish or expand access to mental health and substance use services associated with the COVID-19 public health emergency
  • Authorizes SAMHSA to award grants to support local, tribal, and state substance use efforts that need further assistance as a result of COVID-19 for the purposes of:
    • Preventing and controlling the spread of infectious diseases the consequences of such diseases for individuals living with SUD
    • Overdose education, counseling, and health education for individuals at risk of SUD


  • $100 billion to make payments under the Health Care Provider Relief Fund
    • Grants for hospitals and health care providers to be reimbursed health care related expenses or lost revenue directly attributable to the public health emergency resulting from coronavirus. The bill also establishes a program for distributing these funds to include an application for providers and specific formulas to determine “health care related expenses and lost revenue.”
      • Eligible expenses for reimbursement include medical supplies and PPE, retention of workforce, building or construction of temporary structures and more
      • Lost revenues determined by net patient revenue from corresponding 2019 quarter minus net patient revenue in 2020 minus savings during the calendar quarter attributable to foregone wages, payroll taxes, etc.
    • $75 billion for expenses necessary for testing, contact tracing, and other activities necessary to effectively monitor and suppress COVID-19


  • The covered period, previously set to expire on June 30, 2020, is extended to December 31, 2020
    • The previously established loan period of 8 weeks has been extended to 24 weeks
  • Eligibility, previously limited, is expanded to all 501(c)s, included those with in excess of 500 employees
    • Establishes a carve out of 25% of existing funds for nonprofits regardless of size, at least half of which (12.5%) is allocated for nonprofits with fewer than 500 employees
  • Removes the limitation, previously set to 25%, on the non-payroll portion of a forgivable loan


  • Directs NIMH to support research on the mental health consequences of COVID-19, including the impact on health care providers.


  • Designates 9-8-8 as the universal dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
  • Allows states to impose a fee or charge on voice service subscribers’ bills for the support or implementation of 9-8-8 services for the support of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
  • Requires the FCC to evaluate and submit a report to Congress on the feasibility and cost of automatically providing the dispatchable location of calls to 9-8-8
  • Requires SAMHSA to submit a report to Congress that details a strategy for offering support or providing technical assistance for training programs for National Suicide Prevention Lifeline counselors to increase competency in serving LGBTQ youth