Bipartisan Group of Senators, Congressmen Call on HHS to 'Immediately' Help Rural Hospitals Fight Coronavirus

Posted: Mar 31, 2020 6:05 AM
Bipartisan Group of Senators, Congressmen Call on HHS to 'Immediately' Help Rural Hospitals Fight Coronavirus

Source: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Republicans and Democrats from both the House of Representatives and the Senate came together on Monday to send a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar asking him to provide "immediate support" to rural hospitals and health care providers that are fighting the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.

"Small and rural hospitals across the nation are facing an acute financial crisis. Even before this crisis, nearly one-half of rural hospitals were operating at a financial loss, and hundreds were on the brink of closure. Now, they are confronting impossible choices during this public health emergency. The administration must focus on ensuring financial viability of these providers. Failure to take fast and aggressive action will put the health of our communities at further risk," the letter stated.

According to the 41 senators and the 81 members of Congress, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides HHS "with the flexibility to deliver assistance where it is needed the most."

The group of legislators stated that without financial help from the government, the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak will force rural hospitals to go under.

"Mr. Secretary, our rural providers need your immediate assistance. Congress has provided you with the funding and flexibility. Now it is up to the administration to respond with rapid action to sustain rural providers," the letter stated. "Any unnecessary delay will only worsen this situation." 

The letter was signed by the following senators: John Barrasso (R-WY), Michael Bennett (D-CO), John Kennedy (R-LA), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), James Lankford (R-OK), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), Martha McSally (R-AZ), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Steve Daines (R-MT), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Todd Young (R-IN), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Doug Jones (D-AL), Tina Smith (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Tom Udall (D-NM), Jon Tester (D-MT), Jim Risch (R-ID), Susan Collins (R-ME), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), John Boozman (R-AR), John Hoeven (R-ND), David Perdue (R-GA), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Joe Manchin III (D-WV), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Angus S. King, Jr. (I-ME), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV)

The following representatives also signed onto the letter: Sam Graves (R-MO), Liz Cheney (R-WY), Bradley Byrne (R-AL), Michael T. McCaul (R-TX), Troy Balderson (R-OH), John Joyce, M.D. (R-PA), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Jim Hagedorn (R-MN), John Carter (R-TX), Alex X. Mooney (R-WV), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Jack Bergman (R-MI), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Tim Walberg (R-MI), Joe Neguse (D-CO), Peter Welch (D-VT), TJ Cox (D-CA), Anthony Brindisi (D-NY), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Terri A. Sewell (D-AL), Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM), Darren Soto (D-FL), Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH), Collin C. Peterson (D-MN), Cynthia Axne (D-IA), Ro Khanna (D-CA), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Ron Kind (D-WI), David B. McKinley, P.E. (R-WV), Greg Gianforte (R-MT), Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS), Mike Rogers (R-AL), Brian Babin, D.D.S. (R-TX), Bruce Westerman (R-AR), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), Ralph Abraham, M.D. (R-LA), Mike Conaway (R-TX), Jodey Arrington (R-TX), Rick Crawford (R-AR), Mike Bost (R-IL), Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-IN), Robert B. Aderholt (R-AL), Angie Craig (D-MN), Ron Wright (R-TX), Gregory F. Murphy, M.D. (R-NC), Ted S. Yoho, D.V.M. (R-FL), Jason Smith (R-MO), James Comer (R-KY), Bob Gibbs (R-OH), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Ben Cline (R-VA), Billy Long (R-MO), Scott Tipton (R-CO), Hal Rogers (R-KY), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Carol D. Miller (R-WV), John Moolenaar (R-MI), David Kustoff (R-TN), Don Young (R-AK), Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Russ Fulcher (R-ID), Mark Green, M.D. (R-TN), Michael Guest (R-MS), John Rose (R-TN), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Neal Dunn, M.D. (R-FL), Elise M. Stefanik (R-NY), French Hill (R-AR), Fred Keller (R-PA), Ron Estes (R-KS), Darin LaHood (R-IL), Tom Cole (R-OK), Andy Harris, M.D. (R-MD), H. Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Kevin Hern (R-OK), Austin Scott (R-GA), and Brad Wenstrup, D.P.M. (R-OH).