U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) today led a bipartisan group of 19 Senators in urging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to consider the needs of rural hospitals and hospitals with high percentages of Medicaid and Medicare patients as HHS distributes the $100 billion healthcare fund included in the CARES Act.

The Senators request an equitable distribution of funding from Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund for small rural hospitals, critical access hospitals and other rural providers engaged in the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Senators said in part, “Last year rural hospitals closures hit a record high, and 2020 is on pace to be even higher.  So far this year we have had eight rural hospitals close, with several more on the brink.  About 60 million people, nearly one in five Americans, live in rural areas and depend on their local hospitals for care.  Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, rural hospitals were already operating on shoestring budgets, and with the cancellation of elective procedures, have a desperate and immediate need for more funding. Therefore, we request you make this funding available immediately to provide relief to our struggling health care providers.”

Manchin and Hyde-Smith are joined by Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS), Michael Bennet, (D-CO), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Jon Tester (D-MT), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), John Boozman (R-AR), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), John Hoeven (R-ND), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), Angus King (I-ME), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Jim Inhofe (R-OK).