Group seeks emergency aid for hospitals

An advocacy group warned this week that rural hospitals will face a "catastrophic cash shortage" because of the coronavirus pandemic. Congressional action will be needed to save some facilities from closing.

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State News

April 8, 2020 - 10:04 AM

Visitors at the now-shuttered Mercy Hospital in Fort Scott would pass this tall white cross en route to the hospital’s entrance. The hospital closed in December 2018. Photo by Christopher Smith / Kaiser Health News

Rural hospitals face “catastrophic cash shortages” brought on by the COVID-19 crisis and need congressional action to save them, according to a Leawood advocacy group that represents hundreds of rural hospitals.

In a letter Monday addressed to the leaders of the U.S. House and Senate, the National Rural Health Association asks that 20% of the $100 billion in funding for hospitals in the CARES Act, the $2 trillion coronavirus response bill passed by Congress last month, be set aside for rural providers.  

It also asks Congress to accelerate Medicare payments, ensure that rural hospitals can access the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and pass legislation to provide additional funding for rural health care providers. The PPP, also part of the CARES Act, is a $350 billion program aimed at enabling small businesses to keep current workers or rehire those who were laid off.

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