Gardner, Manchin, Hyde-Smith, Torres Small, Hagedorn Urge HHS to Provide Relief to Rural Healthcare Providers Affected by COVID-19 Pandemic

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) and U.S. Representatives Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM) and Jim Hagedorn (R-MN) led 49 Members of Congress in strongly encouraging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to quickly provide further relief to rural healthcare providers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Members said in part, “Rural healthcare was already in crisis prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the situation is only getting worse. Last year rural hospitals closures hit a record high, and 2020 is on pace to be even higher. So far this year twelve rural hospitals have closed, with hundreds more on the brink. Given both the cancellation of elective procedures because of the pandemic and the recent spread of COVID-19 in rural America, rural providers have a desperate and immediate need for more funding. Therefore, we request you make this funding available quickly to provide relief to struggling rural health care providers.”

The letter called on future allocations from the Provider Relief Fund to meet the following metrics:

  • A 20 percent Rural Benchmark in the Provider Relief Fund
  • Priority should be granted to facilities that have been significantly affected by COVID-19 preparation
  • Priority should be granted for facilities that provide care for a disproportionally high percentage of Medicare and Medicaid patients
  • Priority should be granted for facilities that provide care for populations with above average senior populations or co-morbidities that are particularly vulnerable to complications from COVID-19 and for populations in areas:
    • With limited access to health infrastructure
    • With high uninsured patients

The Members were also joined by Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Angus King (I-ME), Jon Tester (D-MT), John Boozman (R-AR), Doug Jones (D-AL), Roger Wicker (R-MS), John Hoeven (R-ND), Martha McSally (R-AZ), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Steve Daines (R-MT), and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Representatives Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D-GA), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), Steve King (R-IA), Robert B. Aderholt (R-AL), Terri A. Sewell (D-AL), Troy Balderson (R-OH), Peter A. DeFazio (D-OR), Cindy Axne (D-IA), Fred Keller (R-PA), Bruce Westerman (R-AR), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Glenn Grothman (R-WI), Collin C. Peterson (D-MN), Juan Vargas (D-CA), Bob Gibbs (R-OH), Austin Scott (R-GA), Abby Finkenauer (D-IA), Josh Harder (D-CA), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Hal Rogers (R-KY), Jack Bergman (R-MI), Michael Guest (R-MS), Rick Crawford (R-AR), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Alex Mooney (R-WV), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), Trent Kelly (R-MS), Ron Kind (D-WI), Angie Craig (D-MN), Steve Stivers (R-OH), and Elise M. Stefanik (R-NY).

Read the full letter here.


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.