Wyoming’s United States Senator John Barrasso said on Monday, March 30 that he helped with a letter urging U.S. Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to provide “immediate assistance to rural hospitals and clinics.”
122 members of Congress, including Wyoming’s U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, signed the letter along with Barrasso.
“We need to use the funding included in the CARES Act to sustain rural health providers,” Barrasso said. “A majority of rural hospitals have ceased performing elective procedures and seeing non-urgent patients. We know the COVID-19 crisis confronting the United States must take priority, but some rural hospitals across the country only have days left of cash on hand and need immediate assistance.”
“Rural hospitals are the backbone of communities across our nation,” the letter reads. These providers are on the frontlines combating the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. It is imperative these health care professionals receive the immediate support they need to continue caring for our communities.”
The letter notes that small and rural hospitals have been facing financial struggles even prior to the outbreak of COVID-19. It adds that Congress has passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).
“This legislation includes new funding to provide financial relief for hospitals,” the letter continues. “The CARES Act provides you with the flexibility to deliver assistance where it is needed most. Right now, some rural hospitals are reporting they are 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 notes that most rural hospitals have ceased providing elective surgeries and have stopped seeing non-urgent patients.
“Mr. Secretary, our rural providers need your immediate assistance,” the letter states. “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. Any unnecessary delay will only worsen the situation.”
The letter also asks Azar to deliver a personal briefing to the Congress via teleconference by April 3.