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WNY Congressional delegation seeks more federal funding for hospitals

Posted 27 August 2020 at 11:49 am

Press Release, Congressman Chris Jacobs

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) has joined by Congressman Tom Reed (NY-23) and Congressman Joe Morelle (NY-25) in calling on the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Azar to provide additional funds for hospitals from the Public Health Services and Support Emergency Fund.

Jacobs, Reed, and Morelle cited Thompson Health in Canandaigua and Eastern Niagara Hospital in Lockport, which have not received any relief funding since the initial round of federal funding distributed on April 10th. Thompson Health serves over 165,000 residents and has more than 1,700 workers. Before COVID-19, 80% of their revenue came from outpatient services – these were halted to focus on the COVID-19 response, and they are now facing $10 million in losses.

“Hospitals in our region, such as Thompson Health, have fully complied with all COVID-19 guidelines and served their communities effectively during the pandemic,” Jacobs said. “However, following these guidelines has resulted in drops in inpatient volumes and increased costs for protective equipment and testing. While they have faced the same challenges and financial struggles as other providers, our hospitals, many serving rural communities, have not received the same amount of federal aid.”

Thompson Health and other providers have been without critical funding for over 17 weeks, despite their continued efforts to provide COVID-19 relief services to our area. Without additional support, they are facing severe financial cutbacks that could have devastating effects on the region.

The Representatives are asking for the consideration of a “plus-up” formula for future aid funding. Under this method, each hospital would receive, at minimum, the same percentage of the previous year’s revenue. This would make funding distribution more even, currently Thompson, for example, has received roughly 2% of FY19 revenue, while other hospitals have received up to 50% FY19 revenue.

“We care about our communities’ access to medical care and the incredible hospitals in our region who provide quality services,” Congressman Reed said. “It is only fair that HHS work with us to ensure bureaucratic classifications don’t prevent medical providers from receiving the federal aid they deserve to continue serving people during this difficult period.”

“Healthcare providers have been on the front lines battling this unprecedented global health crisis, yet many smaller providers have failed to receive the support and assistance they deserve,” Congressman Morelle said. “Many are struggling under the weight of financial loss and need our help to continue the essential services they provide for our community. I’m proud to partner with Congressman Chris Jacobs to stand up for these small hospital providers and urge HHS to provide additional relief immediately.”

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