Wyden, Merkley Announce More Than $12.7 Million in Federal Grants for Oregon Covid-19 Response in Central Oregon

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today announced the St. Charles Medical Center Foundation will be receiving a total of $12.79 million in federal funds for Covid-19 emergency response measures such as hiring additional staff, creating additional space for testing and treatment and more during the pandemic in Central Oregon.

“The economic fallout of this public health crisis landed hard on hospitals and clinics in Oregon and nationwide, generating massive new and unexpected costs to pay for the emergency response measures carried out by the healthcare heroes battling to keep people safe and healthy,” Wyden said. “I’m gratified these resources are heading to St. Charles and I’ll continue to fight to help cover the added expenses produced by Covid-19 in Central Oregon and statewide.”

“Our health care systems and workers are facing immense economic strains and challenges from years of combating the COVID crisis,”Merkley said. “The federal funding heading to the St. Charles Medical Center Foundation will boost emergency response measures, address staffing shortages, increase COVID-19 testing, diagnosis, and treatment, and much more to strengthen the fight against the public health crisis in Central Oregon. I will continue to push for the resources our health care systems around the state need.”

The federal funds will go St. Charles Medical Center Foundation for executing a variety of lifesaving measures, including:

  • Training doctors, nurses, and other staff in the proper usage of personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Informing the public on healthy practices that help slow down the spread of Covid-19.
  • Hiring additional doctors, nurses, and other support staff to work exclusively on Covid-19 response.
  • Providing Covid-19 testing and diagnosis and treatment for Covid-19 positive patients.
  • Creating temporary facilities for additional space to test and treat Covid-19 related activities; surge bedding.
  • Operating a modular space with drive through capabilities for pharmacy needs to serve infected patients and to help reduce congestion in their permanent facilities. 

“St. Charles is grateful to Senators Wyden and Merkley for their help with expediting the release of nearly $13 million in FEMA grants,” said Matt Swafford, St. Charles Health System’s chief financial officer. “This funding, which covers some of the unanticipated costs the health system incurred at the height of the pandemic, is critically needed to support our operations and financial recovery.”

A web version of this release is here.