Golden, Collins, King Urge Mnuchin to Fix Rule that Excludes Certain Critical Access Hospitals from PPP Relief
WASHINGTON — Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02), Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), and Senator Angus King (I-ME) wrote to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Small Business Administrator Jovita Carranza today on behalf of struggling critical access hospitals cut off from Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) relief. The lawmakers urged the agency heads to make a targeted regulatory fix that would allow non-profit critical access hospitals currently undergoing Chapter 11 reorganization, like Calais Regional Hospital and Penobscot Valley Hospital in Lincoln, to access desperately needed relief funds.
In their letter, the members of Congress point out that Mnuchin and Carranza have the power to make these changes immediately. The agencies have made such fixes for other kinds of entities, including certain classifications of non-profit hospitals, faith-based organizations, casinos, and others to allow them access to the program.
“Given that these rural critical access hospitals are so important, both as frontline health care providers during this pandemic and as institutions that anchor their local economies, that the PPP has more than $100 billion dollars left to disburse between now and its expiration on August 8th and that Treasury and SBA have repeatedly fixed similar problems for other applicants,” wrote the members of Congress, “we ask that you revise PPP regulations to allow these rural hospitals to apply for help—regardless of their Chapter 11 or federal debtor status—to keep them serving their communities during the ongoing pandemic.”
At a hearing of the House Small Business Committee last week, Golden brought critical access hospitals’ lack of access to PPP to the attention of Secretary Mnuchin. The Secretary made a commitment to working with Golden, Collins, and King to consider a fix for the issue.
Golden, Collins, and King have been working to provide a solution to Calais Regional Hospital and Penobscot Valley Hospital since May. That month, they sent a letter to Administrator Carranza urging her to amend her agency’s interim final rule. The members of Congress have also proposed legislation in both the House and Senate to put the change into law.
Calais Regional Hospital and Penobscot Valley Hospital sued for access to PPP funds, but were denied last month. A legislative or regulatory fix are the only avenues available to provide PPP funds to the two hospitals.
Read the lawmakers’ letter here.