Kennedy urges CMS Administrator to reconsider action endangering rural hospitals

“Now is the time we should be doing more to ensure the survival of rural hospitals, not expediting their demise. We ask you to please reconsider this action and work with Congress to ensure the long-term vitality of our rural hospitals.”

WASHINGTON (Aug. 4, 2020) – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) asked Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma to reconsider a regulatory action that will force rural providers to repay up to 80 percent of their forgiven Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans through reductions in future Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements.

“This action is unacceptable. Not only will this exacerbate financial burdens for rural hospitals already operating on razor thin margins, but it will likely prove to be a catalyst in expediting the rural hospital closure crisis at a moment when many of these rural areas are current COVID-19 hotspots in need of the most assistance,” wrote Kennedy.

“The PPP was designed to help struggling businesses survive the economic impact brought on by COVID-19 and served as a lifeline for the rural hospitals,” continued Kennedy. “Louisiana, for example, is home to 57 rural hospitals—nine of which are deemed vulnerable—and 44 percent are currently operating at a loss.”

The letter also notes that President Trump yesterday issued an executive order to provide assistance to rural health providers. (See Below)

“Now is the time we should be doing more to ensure the survival of rural hospitals, not expediting their demise. We ask you to please reconsider this action and work with Congress to ensure the long-term vitality of our rural hospitals,” Kennedy concluded.