OPINION: Federal Loan Forgiveness Essential to Avoid Health Crisis

OPINION: Federal Loan Forgiveness Essential to Avoid Health Crisis

Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County Chief Executive Officer Irene Richardson

The following opinion piece was written and submited by Irene Richardson, Chief Executive Office at Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County.

Dear Editor, 

Millions of Americans are concerned about the continued impact the coronavirus pandemic will have on our economy. As a result of the pandemic, hospitals and frontline workers nationwide are at the forefront of this fight both from a healthcare perspective and from an economic perspective. Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County is no exception. 

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Congress approved $175 billion in emergency provider grants, but not enough to prevent a deepening crisis. Hospitals alone will lose more than $200 billion through June, according to the American Hospital Association. Continued summer losses will continue into fall/winter as COVID-19 returns with the flu season. 

Congress has the opportunity to avert a healthcare crisis this fall by forgiving the $100 billion federal COVID-19 loans that providers accessed in April. The federal CARES Act assured providers COVID-19 costs can be reimbursed, including lost revenue. Providers will spend loan dollars only on pandemic costs.

Without forgiveness, loan repayment starts in September for the $100 billion. Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County’s loan allocation of $7.4 million is included.

Loan forgiveness will support our providers and staff on the frontlines, and keep our doors open, which is vital for our community.

Irene Richardson, CEO, Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County

Please help the frontlines by telling your U.S. Representatives and Senators to pass loan forgiveness now. Simply put, loan forgiveness for our hospital, and others across the nation, will ensure that quality care continues in our community. 

Our frontline heroes need Congress to act and pass legislation to forgive the loans to hospitals. 

Sincerely, 

Irene Richardson
Chief Executive Officer 
Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County

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