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Treasure Dept. Agrees with Hyde-Smith...

Treasure Dept. Agrees with Hyde-Smith push to make public hospitals eligible for SBA COVID-19 funds

By: Magnolia Tribune - April 24, 2020


Hyde-Smith Helps Lead Senate Advocacy for Distressed Public Hospitals

U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today praised a U.S. Treasury decision making publicly-owned hospitals and similar care providers eligible to apply for U.S. Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.

The U.S. Treasury Department on Friday issued an interim final rule that will change PPP guidelines to expand eligibility to public hospitals, an action advocated earlier this month by Hyde-Smith, Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and others.

“This is a huge win for small public hospitals in Mississippi and across the country.  These critical facilities, like their for-profit and nonprofit counterparts, are suffering financially under restrictions caused by COVID-19,” Hyde-Smith said.  “New funding has been approved for the Paycheck Protection Program and this new rule can provide a lifeline to public hospitals.”

The interim final rule states that public hospitals with fewer than 500 employees may be eligible for a PPP loan if the hospital receives less than 50 percent of its funding from state or local government sources, exclusive of Medicaid.

Rural and public hospitals have faced added risk of closure as they follow Centers for Disease Control guidance to cancel routine procedures and appointments, which has caused revenue declines as high as 80 percent.  Over the past decade, 128 hospitals have closed and an additional 450 hospitals are at-risk of closure.  More than 30 hospitals in Mississippi are currently state or local-government owned.

On Friday, President Trump signed into law new legislation to infuse PPP with an additional $310 billion, funding required after an initial $350 billion in the CARES Act was exhausted.  The SBA is expected to resume issuing PPP loans to applicants early next week.

An April 9, 2020, letter led by Moran and Hyde-Smith stressed the need to make public hospitals eligible for PPP assistance.  The letter stated:

“Many of these hospitals are the sole provider for health needs in their community and their closure would leave wide areas of America with even greater access to care issues than ever before, which we simply cannot risk during this pandemic.  As nearly one quarter of rural hospitals were financially struggling before the burden of COVID-19, Congress must provide immediate relief in the form of eligibility for the loans in the Paycheck Protection Program to allow them to continue operating until additional assistance can be made available.

The Moran/Hyde-Smith letter was also signed by John Boozman (R-Ark.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

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Magnolia Tribune

This article was produced by Y'all Politics staff.