Bennet, Gardner, Neguse, Tipton, Buck, Lamborn Secure COVID-19 Support for Rural Hospitals

Delegation Members Have Repeatedly Urged That the Paycheck Protection Program Apply to Critical Access Hospitals and Rural Health Clinics

Denver – Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D) and Cory Gardner (R) and Colorado U.S. Representatives Joe Neguse (D), Scott Tipton (R), and Ken Buck (R) released the following statements regarding the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) clarification today that Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) and Rural Health Clinics (CHCs) will be eligible for relief provided by the Paycheck Protection Program. Congress approved an additional $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, and the Colorado delegation members demanded answers yesterday as to why no action had been taken yet to ensure CAHs and RHCs are eligible for this relief.

Prior to the clarification, there was inconsistent interpretation of whether or not healthcare providers partially owned or operated by the county or district in which they serve were eligible for critical relief through the Paycheck Protection Program. The updated guidance ensures that any hospital with less than 50 percent of its revenue from state or local taxpayer sources is eligible.

“Rural hospitals and clinics are often the bedrock of rural communities in Colorado,” said Bennet. “Supporting these providers is critical to the health and economic well-being of Coloradans across the state. We’ve been calling for this important fix to the PPP program so all rural hospitals can confidently access this funding to help them keep their doors open and continue to serve their communities.”

“Our Critical Access Hospitals and Rural Health Clinics play a vital role in rural communities, both as care providers and as employers. But they are struggling with lost revenue and the costs of combating the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gardner. “That’s why I’ve worked with my colleagues in the delegation as well as Governor Polis to ensure that rural hospitals are able to leverage the Paycheck Protection Program intended to help keep businesses, including healthcare providers, afloat. Today’s announcement is welcome news for rural communities and the healthcare providers that serve them.”

“Rural health clinics and critical access hospitals in the rural communities in my district and throughout Colorado are essential to providing care for individuals in our mountain communities. Now more than ever as we face an unprecedented public health emergency, we must ensure they have the resources they need to continue operating and continue serving our communities,” said Neguse. “I am grateful we were able to secure this policy change from the Small Business Administration so CAHs and RHCs can access critical funds laid out in the CARES Act. Their work on the frontlines of this pandemic is essential and we must support them in every way we can.”

“Medical staff in rural hospitals have been on the front lines of this pandemic, serving communities across the Third District. Many of these rural hospitals have taken a significant revenue hit because of the pandemic as they are forced to limit their scope of care, putting their financial futures in jeopardy,” said Tipton. “The last thing healthcare workers should have to worry about right now is losing their paychecks due to bureaucratic uncertainty. I am thankful Treasury listened to my calls and acted quickly to make sure rural hospitals are eligible to receive critical PPP loans so their heroic employees can continue to serve their communities.”

“Rural Health Clinics and Critical Access Hospitals are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic and are vital to rural communities across Colorado’s Fourth Congressional District. I am glad the Small Business Administration understands the seriousness of our request and is granting RHCs and CAHs access to the Paycheck Protection Program. This will allow rural healthcare providers to keep their doors open and continue to provide lifesaving care to patients in their communities,” said Buck.

Bennet, Gardner, and Governor Polis made a unified request for critical improvements to the CARES Act to better support Coloradans, including making clear CAHs and other rural health care providers are able to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program.