Senators pressure HHS; department will quicken distribution of $25 billion for hospitals

D.C. Bureau

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Thanks to a bipartisan group of senators, many hospitals throughout the country won’t have to wait much longer to get much needed funding.

“I think this will prop them up, will keep them open,” West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito said.

In a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services, Capito urged HHS to provide COVID funding to relieve the strain on rural hospitals.

“Once the COVID hit, with shuttering a lot of the services, our hospitals have had to lay people off, they’ve had to cut back on the services,” Capito said.

HHS agreed and will speed distribution of $25 billion dollars to these hospitals, which serve largely Medicaid and low-income patients — a population that Virginia Senator Mark Warner believes needs more attention.

“Shifting the balance so that we focus on the Medicaid populations as well, poor Americans, both young and old is a smart formula and one that I support,” Warner said.

Nearly $15 billion will go to Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program providers, while the other $10 billion will go to safety-net hospitals.

“I think this will help sustain and be able to re-open their doors better, be able to re-offer the services, preventive services, diagnostic services,” Capito said.

Warner hopes this is will help other lawmakers shift their focus.

“We need to direct our assistance on our COVID bills to those people who are most in need,” Warner said.

Both Warner and Capito say hospitals in their states will need more support if pressure from the pandemic continues.

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