McKinley Introduces Legislation Providing Critical Relief to Rural Hospitals

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Washington, July 24, 2020 | comments
WASHINGTON, D.C. —U.S. Representative David B. McKinley P.E. (R-W.Va.) introduced legislation to help hospitals struggling for survival during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bill would forgive repayments, extend the timeline of repayments, and lower the interest rate of Medicare Advanced Payments (MAP) made during the pandemic.

“Our hospitals are the backbone of our healthcare system,” said McKinley. “Even before this crisis, many hospitals in rural areas and small communities have been struggling. The trend of hospital closures is alarming and threatens access to care for millions across the country.”

“This bill would provide critical relief to hospitals at a time when our health care system is stretched thin,” added McKinley. “This help will ensure they can keep their doors open and continue playing a vital role in providing care.”

Background:

This legislation came from various discussions held with West Virginia hospitals. Before the COVID-19 pandemic rural and community hospitals were struggling. The public health crisis has only made it worse - cancelled and delayed elective procedures, less patient appointments, and fewer ER visits. 

Congressman McKinley is a lead cosponsor on the bill, (H.R. 7759). This piece of legislation would allow the Secretary of HHS to forgive the MAP loans, extended the payback period, or lower the interest rate based on a hospital’s demonstrated hardship which includes impending closure, bankruptcy, massive layoffs, or any other hardship the Secretary finds acceptable.

MAP allows hospitals and other healthcare providers to receive an advance on some of their typical Medicare fee-for-service reimbursements during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Under the CARES Act West Virginia hospitals received:

·         $246 million to support providers.

·         $196 million to support rural and critical access hospitals.

·         $654 million in Medicare Advanced Payments (MAP)

To read bill text, click here.

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