Local Hospitals Share $22 Million in HELP Funding

Armstrong County Memorial Hospital (ACMH) and Indiana Regional Medical Center (IRMC) will receive substantial awards from the Hospital Emergency Loan Program, or HELP, which provides short-term financial relief as hospitals combat the surge of COVID-19 cases, according to Senator Joe Pittman.

ACMH was awarded $12 million and IRMC will receive $10 million from the program, which totaled nearly $324 million in low-interest loans for 31 hospitals across Pennsylvania.

“This is welcome support for our local hospitals,” Senator Pittman said. “ACMH and IRMC may not have experienced the same COVID-19 patient volumes as their counterparts in Philadelphia, but they have been impacted just the same. Even a limited number of coronavirus cases can place a financial strain on smaller hospitals and the statewide restriction on elective procedures eliminated essential revenue that they rely on to survive.

“To be clear, these are only short-term loans that are intended to assist ACMH and IRMC in getting through the immediate crisis,” Senator Pittman continued. “HELP funding is a lifeline that does not ease the long-term fiscal distress of those institutions. Until they can resume standard operations, they will continue to be in a dire financial situation where tough choices will need to be made in order for them to survive as community hospitals.” 

The Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) authorized the use of $450 million on April 10 to support the emergency loan program, according to Senator Pittman, who serves on the PENNVEST Board.

“The PENNVEST funding we approved was an aggressive approach in a time of crisis. We must do all we can to keep our hospital network strong and prepared during the time it is needed most,” said Senator Pittman. “The coronavirus outbreak created a severe financial problem for hospitals both in urban and rural areas.”

HELP is intended to provide immediate financial support for working capital to ensure that hospitals have sufficient personnel, equipment, and personal protective equipment.

The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020, with the goal of easing the financial strain of the pandemic and smoothing the transition back into regular health care operation. Pennsylvania health care facilities licensed as hospitals by the Pennsylvania Department of Health under the Health Care Facilities Act of 1979 that are eligible to receive federal grant funding through the CARES Act are eligible for HELP.

Contacts:        Carlton Logue                         clogue@pasen.gov                   

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