MAY 19, 2020 - Today Governor Lee announced the recipients of $10 million in Small and Rural Hospital Readiness Grants to support hospitals that are facing financial strain due to the ongoing response to COVID-19. The grants will serve as a bridge for 29 rural Tennessee facilities while elective procedures are suspended and new federal funds are still processing.
"Rural Health Association of Tennessee is grateful to Governor Lee for acknowledging the needs of rural communities during this time," says RHA of TN Executive Director, Jacy Warrell. "Facilities have already been under financial pressure, and this relief is much needed."
Several weeks ago, the Trump Administration announced a $10 billion rural COVID-19 relief fund. This money will be distributed based on operating expenses, recognizing the significant declines in revenue or increases in expenses related to COVID-19 than their urban counterparts.
Applicants for Tennessee's relief fund were required to demonstrate they are actively pursuing available federal relief. Spread across 29 hospitals in 28 counties, the grants help smaller hospitals bridge funding gaps created by reduced patient volumes while federal funds become available.
The COVID-19 pandemic has spread to nearly all of Tennessee's rural communities. At the same time, many rural hospitals, rural health clinics, and small physician practices are on the verge of closure. The loss of revenue over the last several months due to the inability to provide non-emergency care has been destabilizing.
"Rural Tennessee cannot combat this virus nor recover from economic devastation without a vibrant health sector, making this funding essential," says Warrell. "Last week RHA of TN announced a new partnership with Intalere to help elevate clinical and financial performance and will continue working with the governor's office to ensure rural Tennessee has access to the care they need and deserve."