Fed Funds: $291 Million for Oregon Hospitals’ Coronavirus Response Efforts

Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, along with U.S. Representatives Peter DeFazio, Earl Blumenauer, Greg Walden, Kurt Schrader, and Suzanne Bonamici, have announced that 3,454 hospitals in Oregon will receive a total of $291 million in funding to enhance their coronavirus response efforts.

The funds are being allocated through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Support (CARES) Act, which was passed by Congress last month. Hospitals may use this funding for non-reimbursable expenses attributed to COVID-19. Examples include building or retrofitting new intensive care units, increased staffing or training, personal protective equipment, the building of temporary structures and more. Forgone revenue from cancelled procedures, which has put significant strain on the health care system, is also a qualified expense.

“I’ve been in frequent contact with Oregon’s dedicated health care workers and hospitals on the frontlines of the coronavirus crisis—and it’s been clear from the beginning that this unprecedented health crisis would require an unprecedented response both locally and nationally,” Merkley said. “That’s why I’ve been fighting hard to help ensure that federal emergency legislation would give our health care heroes and hospitals the resources they need to safely and effectively treat our communities. I’m pleased that this funding is making its way to our state, and I am deeply grateful to our health care workers for everything they are doing for their fellow Oregonians during this incredibly challenging time.”

“The massive challenge from the coronavirus public health crisis in Oregon and nationwide has put huge strains on our state’s health care professionals and hospitals working 24-7 to keep Oregonians safe,” Wyden said. “I am glad these crucial resources are now heading to our state and remain determined to continue working to support Oregon’s medical providers so they get what they need for their life-saving work.”

“Oregon’s hospitals have been on the front lines of this epidemic for weeks,” DeFazio said. “It’s imperative that our providers and health care workers—particularly in our rural areas—get the federal funding they need to maintain and increase staffing, expand capacity, purchase needed personal protective equipment, make up for lost revenues due to cancelation of elective procedures, and keep our communities safe. I will continue to fight to ensure the federal government provides them every resource they need to face this crisis.”

“I’ve worked closely with HHS Secretary Azar and his team over the last two weeks to help get this money out to our health care providers as fairly and rapidly as possible,” Walden said. “The Administration has moved at record speed to accomplish this goal with money arriving to Oregon overnight. In a phone call with Sec. Azar this morning, I emphasized the needs our rural hospitals and skilled nursing facilities face during this COVID pandemic and the importance of getting them properly funded in the next round of funding, which he hopes to get out the door next week. Bottomline, help is arriving for hospitals, doctors, skilled nursing facilities and the uninsured. I will continue to reach out to all concerned to make sure Oregon receives the support we need and deserve.”

“Oregon hospitals and health care workers are in dire need of resources to keep up with the demand of care needed in this public health crisis,” Blumenauer said. “I’m glad the federal government can be a partner in providing much needed funding to the courageous workers on the front lines of this crisis. It will take continued collaboration to beat this.”

“Oregon was one of the very first states affected by the Coronavirus and hospitals and health care workers immediately rose to the challenge of treating critically ill patients when much was still unknown,” Schrader said. “This influx of federal funding will help Oregon’s hospitals, especially our rural providers respond to these new demands and will give them the resources that they need to give patients the best care possible.”

“The unprecedented harm from the coronavirus pandemic requires an extraordinary response. This crucial funding will help stabilize our health care system in Oregon, and I am glad our community providers will receive it so soon after we expedited passage of the CARES Act in Congress,” Bonamici said. “There is still much work ahead of us to support those on the front lines. Along with my colleagues in the Oregon delegation, I’m fully committed to seeing that effort through to the end.”