04.23.20

Colorado Delegation Members Renew Push for Assistance for Critical Access Hospitals and Rural Health Clinics

Demand answers and action from the SBA to ensure Critical Access Hospitals and Rural Health Clinics are eligible for assistance under the CARES Act

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) and U.S. Representatives Joe Neguse (D-CO), Scott Tipton (R-CO), Ken Buck (R-CO), and Doug Lamborn (R-CO) are renewing their call for the Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide regulatory certainty and ensure that Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) and Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) are eligible for certain Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act assistance, particularly through the Paycheck Protection Program. 

Congress approved an additional $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, and the Colorado delegation members are demanding answers as to why no action has been taken to ensure CAHs and RHCs are eligible for this relief.

“We are writing to ask for a response and immediate attention to our April 2, 2020 letter to request that the Small Business Administration ensure that Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) and Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) who have facilities owned or operated by counties or districts are eligible for the SBA loan assistance programs provided by H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. It is unacceptable that it has been over 20 days since we sent that letter and there has been no response or regulatory relief for these critical health care providers,”wrote the members of the Colorado congressional delegation. “In light of Congress’ bipartisan work to resupply the Paycheck Protection Program with $310 billion and provide additional opportunities for small businesses to support the employees and communities they serve, we request immediate attention to our request that regulatory action ensure CAHs and RHCs are eligible for the relevant CARES Act loan programs.”

The full text of the letter is available here and below:

Dear Administrator Carranza,

We are writing to ask for a response and immediate attention to our April 2, 2020 letter to request that the Small Business Administration ensure that Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) and Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) who have facilities owned or operated by counties or districts are eligible for the SBA loan assistance programs provided by H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. It is unacceptable that it has been over 20 days since we sent that letter and there has been no response or regulatory relief for these critical health care providers.

Since the April 2, 2020 letter, we have heard reports that lack of clarity from the Small Business Administration has directly led to inconsistent interpretations by lenders providing approval and loans through the Paycheck Protection Program. In Colorado this negatively impacts 23 CAHs and numerous RHCs throughout the state. COVID-19 and the revenue challenge facing rural health care providers in light of the necessary suspension of elective procedures has led to countless reports of furloughs, pay cuts, and closures impacting rural communities across the country.

As we noted in our April 2, 2020 letter, during any time period, these hospitals and clinics are essential to support rural communities, but they are especially vital during this time of public health emergency. In addition to their irreplaceable role in serving the everyday health needs of our rural communities, some of these health care providers are actively responding to COVID-19 as we speak and others may be activated soon. Moreover, for many communities these hospitals are the largest active remaining employer in the economy.

In light of Congress’ bipartisan work to resupply the Paycheck Protection Program with $310 billion and provide additional opportunities for small businesses to support the employees and communities they serve, we request immediate attention to our request that regulatory action ensure CAHs and RHCs are eligible for the relevant CARES Act loan programs.

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Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.