Lucas Cosponsors Legislation Supporting Rural Hospitals

Washington, D.C. – This week, Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) joined his colleagues Congressman Michael Guest (MS-03) and Congresswoman Terri Sewell (AL-07) in introducing the PPP Access for Rural Hospitals Act. The legislation would allow smaller hospitals that are part of a larger health care system to waive affiliation requirements to be eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program. The language is narrowly tailored to ensure rural hospitals, or those most in need, are able to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program.

“Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Oklahoma’s rural hospitals have provided critical care to thousands of families who call rural Oklahoma home. While facing unprecedented challenges and financial hardships, our state’s rural doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers are fighting on the frontlines day in and day out helping keep our communities healthy. Their dedication and commitment to our communities is why it’s critical now more than ever that Congress ensure our nation’s rural hospitals have the resources and payroll assistance they need in order to keep our families healthy,” said Congressman Lucas.

Lucas continued“The PPP Access for Rural Hospitals Act would provide additional funding through the Paycheck Protection Program for our nation’s rural hospitals and would ensure that those that are under the umbrella of a larger health care system are eligible to apply for Paycheck Protection Program loans. I’m proud to join my colleagues Congressman Guest and Congresswoman Sewell in introducing this important piece of legislation as Congress works to ensure our rural hospitals are able to weather the financial uncertainty brought on by COVID-19.”

Currently, small, rural hospitals that are part of a larger health system are not eligible for PPP provisions if the health system has more than 500 employees across all of its facilities. Smaller hospitals included in large health systems have been left ineligible to apply for PPP loans. These hospitals, many of them rural, have experienced tremendous financial burdens during the COVID-19 pandemic and have expressed the need for the payroll assistance that could be provided by the PPP if the restrictive provisions were eliminated.

“Rural hospitals in Mississippi and across our nation provide critical services to their surrounding communities,” Rep. Guest said. “During this COVID-19 crisis, our doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers have been on the frontlines providing needed care. Unfortunately, our hospitals have seen interruptions in their normal operations during the pandemic, resulting in decreased revenues and financial hardship. I’m proud to join Congresswoman Sewell in introducing this bill that would provide payroll assistance to our rural hospitals, which could help ensure their continued viability.”

“We are still in the midst of a pandemic that has taken a devastating economic toll on our communities. It is more critical than ever that our rural hospitals on the front lines fighting COVID-19 have the resources they need to keep our communities healthy,” said Rep. Sewell. “The PPP Access for Rural Hospitals Act would make additional funding through the Paycheck Protection program available to some of our rural hospitals, saving jobs and helping to ensure hospitals with the most need are able to weather the financial hardships brought on by the pandemic.”

Joining Congressman Guest and Congresswoman Sewell as original cosponsors of the bill are Representatives Frank Lucas (R-OK), Jim Hagedorn (R-MN), Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Greg Murphy (R-NC), Bradley Byrne (R-AL), Trent Kelly (R-MS), Roger Williams (R-TX), Andy Harris (R-MD), Phil Roe (R-TN), Greg Steube (R-FL), Chris Stewart (R-UT), David Kustoff (R-TN), and Steven Palazzo (R-MS).

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