President and CEO
American Hospital Association
March 6, 2021
America’s hospitals and health systems, and our heroic caregivers, have been on the front-lines leading the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic for over a year. Along the way we have worked to save the lives of our patients, provided compassionate care to all who come through our doors and are now focused day and night on getting vaccines into our communities.
Today’s legislation includes many provisions to help hospitals and health systems provide care to their patients and communities. These include measures to increase access to health coverage for those who lose insurance or are uninsured. It also makes critical investments to bolster the nation’s COVID-19 response, with resources for vaccines, treatment, testing, contact tracing, personal protective equipment and workforce development. Additionally, the bill expands eligibility and provides more resources for the Paycheck Protection Program, which has helped save jobs in the hospital field.
Importantly, the bill will help provide much-needed relief for rural hospitals, many of which came into the pandemic on the brink of closure but play an indispensable role in providing care to their communities.
The AHA is disappointed that the bill does not deliver more overall funding for the Provider Relief Fund, which has been crucial in supplying hospitals, health systems and other providers with resources during the pandemic. We are also concerned that this bill does not include an extension of relief from Medicare sequester cuts, which will go back into effect at the beginning of next month, and also fails to provide loan forgiveness for Medicare accelerated payments for hospitals.
As the legislation moves back to the House, where passage is likely early next week, we look forward to continuing to work with Congress and the Administration on ensuring hospitals and health systems have the support, resources and tools they need to continue to provide essential services to their patients and communities during the pandemic and beyond.