Washington, D.C. – Representatives Adrian Smith (R-NE), Terri Sewell (D-AL), and Jodey Arrington (R-TX) have introduced H.R. 6569, the Rural Health Relief Act, to allow rural county and municipal hospitals to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). PPP was created in the CARES Act to keep workers on payroll at businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 500 employees.
Because local governments such as cities and counties were excluded from PPP, small rural hospitals operated under their authority are currently ineligible to apply, despite most receiving little or no direct monetary support from the jurisdictions they serve:
“Rural hospitals, the primary source of health care for millions of Americans, are doing their part to protect their families and neighbors from COVID-19 by cancelling elective procedures and focusing their efforts on treating those affected by the pandemic,” said Rep. Smith. “Including these small hospitals in PPP recognizes they are making the same sacrifices as their neighbors in other industries and offers them critical support to continue providing care in our rural communities now and into the future.”
“I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation with my colleagues, Rep. Sewell (D-AL) and Rep. Smith (R-NE). It is crucial we include all rural hospitals in the Paycheck Protection Program for three reason: they are on the front lines in the fight against COVID19, they are one of the largest employers in rural communities, and they were the most vulnerable to closing as a result of lost revenue. Ensuring continuity of care across our prairies and plains during these uncertain times will not only protect our working families in rural America, but also our food and fuel supply for all Americans,” said Rep. Arrington.