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St. Elizabeth, Other Ky. Health Care Providers to Receive More Federal Funds

Nearly 900 Kentucky health care providers, including St. Elizabeth Healthcare in Northern Kentucky, will receive more than $115 million in pandemic relief funding.

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will provide the funding as part of phase four of the Provider Relief Fund, which was established through the bipartisan Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed and signed into law in 2020.

The Office of U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, Kentucky's senior senator and the Republican Minority Leader, made the announcement. McConnell helped secure a total of $178 billion for the Provider Relief Fund through several bipartisan COVID-19 relief packages he led to Senate passage last year, an announcement said.

In September, the senator also wrote a letter to the Health & Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra advocating for Kentucky’s healthcare providers to receive these funds.

McConnell's office said that the Biden administration had not released any of the allocated Provider Relief Fund despite its availability throughout 2021.

Kentucky’s relief funding comes as part of a nationwide, $9 billion payment to more than 69,000 healthcare providers who have experienced revenue loss or expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The nationwide average payment is $58,000 for small providers, $289,000 for medium providers, and $1.7 million for large providers.

“Nobody has felt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as acutely as our healthcare providers, who have been on the front lines of this crisis since day one. Now, as many of these same heroes mobilize to assist with Kentucky’s tornado recovery efforts, they are also dealing with extensive pandemic-related expenses and revenue loss. Today’s relief funding announcement will go a long way toward easing that financial distress,” said McConnell. “I was proud to lead several bipartisan COVID-19 relief bills to passage last year and help our healthcare providers receive the relief funding they need to survive. Kentucky and America simply cannot allow our healthcare providers to flounder while we still work to defeat the pandemic.”

“We are extremely grateful for the additional Provider Relief Funds that have been released to providers to help cover the additional costs incurred from caring for patients with COVID," said Garren Colvin, president and CEO of St. Elizabeth Healthcare. "Patients with COVID require longer stays and more intense resources, many needing additional therapies, ICU care, or a ventilator. Extra supplies and Personal Protective Equipment are also required to prevent spread to associates and other patients.

"Meanwhile, supply costs and staffing costs have increased significantly during the pandemic due to shortages nationwide and capacity is being strained at St. Elizabeth and all hospitals requiring many to cancel elective surgeries and procedures at various points during the pandemic. The Provider Relief Fund established through Senator McConnell’s CARES Act have been critical in helping St. Elizabeth sustain high quality operations throughout the pandemic. Since we are experiencing another surge and cases are not declining, the newly released funds will help us to continue providing excellent care to our community.” 

-Staff report

Photo: St. Elizabeth Healthcare in Edgewood