April 22, 2020

Manchin Remains Worried Emergency Funding Will Not Reach Rural Communities

Charleston, WV – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) released the following statement on the bipartisan $484 billion coronavirus relief package to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program and increase funding for hospitals.

“I’m glad the Senate was able to come to a bipartisan compromise that increases funding for healthcare and small businesses, instead of Mitch McConnell’s original proposal that did nothing for healthcare and very little for small business in West Virginia. However, I remain extremely worried that it will not reach the people and the places that need it most. I will keep fighting to change the formula for distributing this emergency health care funding to ensure our rural health providers receive their fair share. I will continue to fight for our publicly owned hospitals – like those in Webster and Pocahontas counties – so that they are eligible to apply for PPP loans. And I will continue to fight to make sure small rural businesses get a fair shot and our state and local governments receive the flexible funding they need to maintain essential services now,” Senator Manchin said.

Senator Manchin has repeatedly pressed for publicly owned hospitals to be able to apply for PPP loans. He also proposed HHS alter the formula to distribute emergency funding to hospitals include the following metrics:

  • A 20 percent Rural Benchmark in the $100 billion provider fund. Without equitable formula guidelines, we believe it will be difficult for the rural providers to access the $100 billion provider grant program.
  • Priority should be granted to facilities that have been significantly affected by COVID-19 preparation. Rural facilities have lost 50 percent to 80 percent of revenue due to the elimination of non-emergency services as they prepare for a COVID-19 surge. Access to funds is critical. If they do not receive relief, most will close by the time the surge hits their rural community.
  • Priority should be granted for facilities that provide care for a disproportionally high percentage of Medicare and Medicaid patients.
  • Priority should be granted for facilities that provide care for populations with above average senior populations or co-morbidities that are particularly vulnerable to complications from COVID-19 and for populations in areas with limited access to health infrastructure. 

A timeline of Senator Manchin’s actions throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic can be found here.

Senator Manchin launched an information resources page where West Virginians can learn more about the coronavirus pandemic and how to protect themselves and their families. To learn more please click here

To receive daily updates from Senator Manchin on the coronavirus pandemic, please click here.