**Delegation raises the fact that non-rural NH hospitals have been left out of recent CARES Act disbursements**
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) sent a letter with Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Chris Pappas (NH-01) to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar, urging the administration to expeditiously award more grant dollars from the Provider Relief Fund established under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The delegation argued that New Hampshire hospitals on the frontlines of the COVID-19 outbreak need additional support to confront increased expenses and reduced revenues associated with the nation’s response to the virus. Shaheen, Hassan, Kuster and Pappas also pointed out that while some relief has been provided, New Hampshire hospitals in non-rural areas have been left out of recent disbursements because of nationwide-focused eligibility provisions that the administration is using to dole out so-called “hot spot” funding.
The delegation wrote, “…rural awards have been critical to helping rural providers that were already struggling financially deal with the significant revenue losses resulting from cancelled and postponed elective procedures and non-emergency visits. However, these providers will continue to need more support. Health care providers in non-rural areas of New Hampshire are also in desperate need of additional resources to support liquidity and enable these providers to continue to treat patients who have severe cases of COVID-19.”
The delegation went on to explain that although the provision of rural-focused funding has been critical for struggling rural providers in New Hampshire, non-rural hospitals in southern New Hampshire have provided care for a significant portion of the hospitalized patients with COVID-19 in the state, yet have not received the financial support they need because New Hampshire hospitals have not been considered “hot spots” that are eligible for funding based on COVID-19 hospitalization rates. In their letter, the delegation requested that when the Department provides future rounds of grant dollars that are based on COVID-19 hospitalization rates, HHS must ensure that a portion of the dollars are set aside to ensure that hospitals in every state can receive funds.
In closing, the Senators and Representatives urged the administration to act swiftly to get more dollars out the door to New Hampshire providers that desperately need this financial assistance. They wrote, “In addition to any actions to better support these New Hampshire health care providers with significant COVID-19 caseloads, as a general matter, an expeditious effort to get more Provider Relief fund dollars out to our communities will help lift all health care providers in our state. With revenues expected to continue to lag over the next several months for many health care providers, action now is critical.”
Their letter can be read in full here.
The congressional delegation helped secure additional funding for health care providers by holding firm during negotiations of the CARES Act. On Friday, Shaheen, Hassan, Kuster and Pappas announced $19.78 million in support through the CARES Act to help New Hampshire nursing facilities. In early April, the delegation announced that New Hampshire providers received $164.5 million from an initial installment of health care provider grants. They also announced $115.4 million in COVID-19 relief funds for rural hospitals and health care providers, as well as an additional $16 million for Granite State providers.
Earlier this month, the delegation announced more than $6 million to help address the economic impact in the Granite State to help provide food, health care, housing assistance and other vital services. The delegation previously announced more than $6.7 million in heating assistance for low-income families and seniors, $15.2 million for New Hampshire's airports , $3.6 million to support affordable housing and $2 million to help Granite Staters living with mental health and substance use disorders. $11.7 million was also awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD )in additional funding to assist New Hampshire’s vulnerable homeless population and other local needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. New Hampshire also received $4.9 million in initial funding to help the state prepare for COVID-19, which was provided by the first bipartisan coronavirus response bill.