U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) is continuing to fight for Iowa’s health care community on the front lines of COVID-19. After hearing from county hospitals in Iowa, Ernst is calling on the Senate to ensure publicly-owned hospitals and similar care providers, like many rural, county-owned hospitals throughout Iowa, are eligible for the relief provided in the Paycheck Protection Program created by Congress in the Phase 3 package.
In a bipartisan letter, Ernst and her colleagues write, “Our small rural hospitals regularly struggle with their razor-thin margins but are now facing difficult choices that range from significant staff furloughs to permanently closing the doors of their community’s lone hospital. Many of these hospitals are small, county-owned public hospitals who are currently denied access to funding included by Congress in the CARES Act. We ask that you clarify that publicly owned hospitals and similar care providers are eligible entities for the Paycheck Protection Program relief program administered by the Small Business Administration.”
The full letter can be found HERE.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Ernst has spoken with hospitals, health centers, and health care workers in Iowa about their needs and concerns, and Ernst successfully helped include critical funding for the health care community on the front lines of COVID-19 in the recently-passed, bipartisan Phase 3 package.
Ernst has also urged the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to immediately assist rural hospitals and clinics by prioritizing funding for these critical health care providers.
Background on Ernst’s efforts to combat COVID-19:
Senator Ernst has fought to deliver relief to all Iowans during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some of her efforts:
- Urged her colleagues to stop playing politics and provide additional support for workers and employers.
- Called for bolstering the small business emergency loan program, the Paycheck Protection Program.
- Delivered major wins for Iowa’s workers, employers, health care industry, and more in the bipartisan Phase 3 package.
- Supported the “Phase 1” bipartisan package to provide additional resources to federal, state and local authorities.
- Helped pass the “Phase 2” bill to provide paid sick leave, free COVID-19 diagnostic testing, and increased support for nutrition for seniors and children.
- Called for an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Urged the Senate to prioritize relief for hospitals, community health centers, and workers on the front lines.
- Announced a proposal to immediately redirect the over $350M in the Presidential Campaign Election Fund to be used to purchase specialized face masks and personal protective equipment.
- Asked the State Department to immediately act to get Iowans stranded abroad back home.
- Sought tariff relief for Iowa’s businesses by calling on Treasury to defer all tariffs during the pandemic.
- Urged USDA to provide additional funding for Iowa’s biofuels industry negatively impacted by COVID-19.
- Took questions from Iowans in Dubuque and Siouxland areas on COVID-19 relief.
- Answered questions from Iowans in Quad Cities area on COVID-19 relief.
- Continued to listen to and answer questions from small businesses across the state.
- Called on two federal health agencies to protect Iowa’s Medicare beneficiaries from high-risk settings and ensure safe access to care as we continue to work to combat COVID-19.
- Held a telephone town hall with thousands of Iowans to help answer some questions and hear directly from folks.
- Hosted another telephone town hall with Iowa’s seniors and elderly community.
- Heard from hundreds of Iowa’s small businesses on her telephone town hall.
- Participated in discussions at the State Emergency Operations Center with Governor Kim Reynolds.
- Joined Governor Reynolds at her press conference to give an update on federal relief efforts.
- Discussed the need to work together – at federal, state, and local level – to tackle COVID-19.
- Published a column on everyone doing their part to protect seniors and fellow Iowans from COVID-19.
- Penned a second column outlining the federal relief packages Congress passed and reminding Iowans we will get through this, together.