The Small Business Administration said Friday it will allow most community-owned rural hospitals to apply for forgivable small business loans.
Guidance released on Friday clarified that most community-owned rural hospitals will be eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program loans to help pay employees as long as the facilities receive less than half their funding from state or local government sources, exclusive of Medicaid.
President Donald Trump signed a more than $300 billion boost to the small business assistance program Friday afternoon.
"This is great news for community-owned hospitals around the country, and I thank SBA for their work to provide this clarity," said House Energy & Commerce ranking Republican Greg Walden of Oregon.
Community-owned rural hospitals had been excluded from the program, but advocates pushed for an exception to be made. Rural hospitals were already financially vulnerable before the COVID-19 pandemic, which has decimated revenue from elective procedures.
The Colorado congressional delegation in partnership with the National Rural Health Association wrote to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza on April 2 asking for the change. A bipartisan group of senators also wrote to Congress a week later asking for lawmakers to make a statutory exception, though Congress didn't change the eligibility standards in its most recent relief package.