Critical access and small, rural hospitals to receive CARES Act funds

Critical access and small rural hospitals that participate in the Small Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP) will soon receive an award for approximately $90,000 per hospital.  The Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Federal Office of Rural Health Policy received $180 million in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to support COVID-19 related activities, of which nearly $150 million will go to hospitals responding to this health crisis. The funds will support rural hospitals which are seeing increased demands for clinical services and equipment, as well as experiencing short-term financial and workforce challenges related to responding to meeting the needs of patients with the COVID-19 seeking care at their facilities. This funding will be awarded to states through the Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP) grant mechanism.  This is complementary funding through other COVID-19 programs, such as the one announced for financial relief for Medicare providers.

On April 1, ICAHN, which manages the SHIP grant for Illinois, submitted 66 Illinois hospitals that qualify for the $90,000/per hospital grant program.  For those hospitals not in the current SHIP program, your hospital is eligible based on having less than 49 staffed beds and located in a state designated rural county or federally designated rural area.  Funds are be used to support your hospital responding to the COVID-19 crisis.  There is no application requirement other than there will be an accounting of how funds are spent as a means to help minimize the burden on hospitals.  The award is expected to be dispensed to the states within the next 2-4 weeks.  As mentioned, each SHIP eligible hospital will receive approximately $90,000 for a grant year.  The final amount will be determined by the number of total hospitals participating in the program similar to SHIP in the past.  Further details will be made available next week.