This week, Congresswoman Hayes will be introducing the Helping Hospitals in Need Act, a bill which would direct critical resources to help hospitals in Connecticut and around the country that are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. This bill would replenish funds for hospitals and providers authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act with another $100 billion dollars. It would also ensure that the Secretary prioritize hospitals that serve a high proportion of uninsured or low-income patients, and states that have the highest per capita hospitalization rates for confirmed COVID-19 cases – like Connecticut.
“Connecticut health care workers have been working around the clock to fight against this unprecedented disaster and keep our state and communities safe,” said Congresswoman Hayes. “But the reality is that the economic costs of combatting this unrelenting disease have put the solvency of our entire health care system into question. I was disappointed that the first round of relief for hospitals and providers distributed by the federal government was inadequate and did not take special consideration for hospitals in hotspots, children’s hospitals, and hospitals that operate in underserved communities with the most need. My bill would fix this mistake and bring urgently needed funds to help Connecticut recover from this disaster.”
The first round of CARES Act funding was allocated based upon health care provider or institution’s Medicare Part A and B claims from 2019. This formula did not properly recognize hospitals facing an outsized burden of COVID-19 cases, including those in geographic hotspots. The formula failed to provide relief to Children’s hospitals and pediatricians who are losing critical revenue during the COVID-19 crisis.
This formula also failed to sufficiently support hospitals that serve a high proportion of uninsured or low-income patients. This is especially concerning, given the high hospitalization rates of people of color suffering from COVID-19 and racial disparities that have emerged during the pandemic.
As of April 22, 2020, there are 20,360 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state of Connecticut, which is one of the highest rates per capita in the country. Hospitals and providers in Connecticut are losing money at an unprecedented rate because of costs combatting the virus and from lost revenue from cancelled elective procedures. The Connecticut Hospital Association has projected the hospitals in the state will lose $1.5 billion from this crisis alone this year.
Congresswoman Hayes joined her colleagues in the Connecticut delegation on April 13, calling on HHS to alter the methodology for allocation of the next round of the CARES Act $10billion in funding to better reflect the contributions of children’s hospitals, hospitals that serve a disproportionate share of Medicaid and uninsured patients, and states that are considered COVID-19 hotspots.
Text of the bill can be found here.
Rep. Jahana Hayes has been a public school teacher in Connecticut for more than 15 years and was recognized in 2016 as the National Teacher of the Year.
Currently serving her first term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Hayes sits on the Committees on Education & Labor and Agriculture and proudly represents Connecticut’s 5th District.