June 08, 2020

Cortez Masto Urges Top Health Officials to Swiftly Distribute Emergency COVID-19 Funds to Hospitals Serving Low-Income, Vulnerable Populations

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and a group of 13 bipartisan colleagues in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma requesting that the Administration act swiftly to distribute emergency funding allocated in COVID-19 spending packages to hospitals that overwhelmingly serve Medicaid and low-income patients. Without adequate federal funding, these hospitals will be unable to effectively treat the country’s most vulnerable communities. 

“To date, the distribution methodology used by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has not sufficiently addressed the needs of hospitals and health providers who disproportionately serve Medicaid and low-income patients,” the lawmakers wrote. “We are concerned about the future financial viability of our hospitals who help care for the sickest, lowest-income, and costliest patients. These hospitals stand at the frontlines of our health care system for many of our disadvantaged communities and operate on razor thin margins under the best of circumstances.”

In normal times, these hospitals face high-uncompensated care costs and bring in significantly lower revenue than other hospitals; the pandemic has severely exacerbated these disparities.

Senators John Boozman (R-Ark.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) also signed the letter.

A full copy of the letter can be found HERE.