U.S. SENATE News:
- Udall, Heinrich, and Senate Democrats secured an additional $55 billion for needs of hospitals and healthcare workers over course of negotiations
- New Mexico and its local governments also can receive up to $1.25 billion in federal reimbursement for pandemic response costs
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) announced that the coronavirus emergency response bill passed by the Senate on Wednesday will provide more than $150 billion of critical relief to hospitals and health care workers across the nation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funding includes $100 billion for direct aid to health care institutions like hospitals that are facing severe financial challenges from the pandemic response and $16 billion to replenish the national stockpile of personal protective equipment, drugs, and medical equipment that health care workers need to save lives and protect themselves and others from the spread of the virus.
State governments like New Mexico that are leading the COVID-19 response will also get major support from a $150 billion coronavirus fund for states, Tribes and local governments. The state of New Mexico, including local governments, will be eligible for up to $1.25 billion to reimburse for costs stemming from the pandemic.
The relief measures are part of a third, $2 trillion legislative package from Congress to help working families, small businesses, and the U.S. economy in the face of the devastating public health and financial impacts of coronavirus. This month Congress already passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act that provides free nationwide testing for COVID-19 and initial economic relief and an $8.3 billion supplemental appropriation.
“My top priority in Congress is making sure New Mexicans have the resources they need to stay healthy,” said Udall, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “Governor Lujan Grisham and our local leaders are stepping up to meet this unprecedented public health crisis with decisive and proactive action critical to buy more time for New Mexico’s doctors, nurses, and other health care heroes and prevent New Mexico’s hospital system from being overwhelmed by this virus. These major federal investments will support New Mexico’s vital efforts, help our hospitals stay afloat and our health care workers get more of the supplies and equipment they need to save lives. The coronavirus threatens to quickly overwhelm the capacity of hospitals across the country. New Mexico’s hospital capacity is limited in size and our rural hospitals, especially, are at risk. We fought hard to make sure that hospitals and healthcare workers – who are on the frontlines of combating coronavirus to protect the health of our nation – have the resources they need to do their jobs and are not themselves victims of this pandemic.”
“This crisis has revealed in stark relief how much we need to reinvest in our hospitals and health care system to ensure that everyone in America—whether they live in rural New Mexico or in New York City—has access to lifesaving medical care,” Heinrich said. “That’s why the legislation we just passed includes what is being called a Marshall Plan for our hospitals and health care system. This funding will help our hospitals secure supplies they desperately need during this emergency such as ventilators and personal protective equipment and also provide key support for the COVID-19 response at community health centers, the VA, and the Indian Health Service. I will keep doing everything in my power to equip our hospitals and health care workers on the frontlines of this pandemic with the supplies and resources they need to keep everyone healthy and safe.”
New Mexico Hospital Association Chief Executive Officer Jeff Dye said, “New Mexico’s hospitals sincerely appreciate the support of Senators Udall and Heinrich for special federal funding directed to hospitals that are meeting the COVID-19 pandemic on the frontlines. The support is critical to meet immediate supply and staffing needs as well as sustain hospital operations in the coming months.”
The bill includes:
- $100 billion for a new program to provide direct aid to health care institutions on the front line of this crisis — hospitals, public health entities, not-for profit entities, and Medicare and Medicaid enrolled suppliers and institutional providers.
- $16 billion to replenish the Strategic National Stockpile supplies of pharmaceuticals, personal protective equipment (PPE), and other medical supplies, which are distributed to state and local health agencies, hospitals and other healthcare entities facing shortages during emergencies.
- $3.5 billion for the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to expand production of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.
- At least $250 million to expand the Hospital Preparedness Program’s support of emergency preparedness.
- $1 billion for the Defense Production Act to bolster domestic supply chains, enabling industry to quickly ramp up production of PPE, ventilators, and other urgently needed medical supplies.
- $4.3 billion to support federal, state, and local public health agencies to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus, including for the purchase of PPE, laboratory testing to detect positive cases, infection control and mitigation at the local level to prevent the spread of the virus, and other public health preparedness and response activities.
- $200 million for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to assist nursing homes with infection control and support states’ efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus in nursing homes.
- $15.85 billion to help our nation’s veterans, including to help treat COVID-19, purchase test kits, and procure PPE for clinicians.
- $425 million to increase access to mental health services in communities.
- $1.3 billion in supplemental funding to community health centers on the front lines of testing and treating patients for COVID-19.
- $3.5 billion for the Child Care Development Block Grant, which will allow child care programs to maintain critical operations, including meeting emergency staffing needs and ensuring first responders and health care workers can access child care while they respond to the pandemic. New Mexico will receive an estimated $29 million increase for the current fiscal year due to this funding.
- $750 million for Head Start to meet emergency staffing needs and help respond to coronavirus- related needs of children and families.
Importantly, the bill also extends community health centers, the National Health Service Corps, the Special Diabetes Program and the Special Diabetes Program for Indians, and teaching health centers that operate GME programs at current funding levels through Nov. 30, 2020.