ATLANTA - More than 120 members of Congress, including three from Georgia, are asking the Trump administration to prioritize rural hospitals for funding from the $2 trillion economic stimulus package Congress passed last week.
The package includes $130 billion aimed specifically at the needs of hospitals fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
The letter, dated Monday and sent to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, is signed by 41 senators and 81 members of the House of Representatives, including Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, and Rep. Austin Scott, R-Tifton.
“The CARES Act provides you with the flexibility to deliver assistance where it is needed most,” the letter states. “Right now, some rural hospitals are reporting they’re running out of operating funds. This jeopardizes their ability to maintain health-care services during the COVID-19 outbreak. We cannot afford to ignore their pressing needs.”
The letter goes on to assert that most rural hospitals have stopping performing elective procedures and stopped seeing non-urgent patients in order to deal with those with coronavirus. The strain that is putting on their finances is leaving some with only days of cash on hand, money they need for payroll and supplies.
The letter asks Azar to brief members of Congress on the situation facing rural hospitals by teleconference by the end of this week.
The stimulus package includes hundreds of billions of dollars to help U.S. businesses large and small keep furloughed employees on their payrolls during the coronavirus crisis. It also will send checks directly to American workers and their families and deliver assistance to state and local governments suffering from losses in tax revenue.