PA hospitals are being offered some financial relief from the governor through loans. But hospital advocates are saying they’d rather get a tax break

Written by on April 14, 2020

PA hospitals are being offered some financial relief from the governor through loans. But hospital advocates are saying they’d rather get a tax break

By Tyler Pratt

April 14, 2020

As hospitals brace for a possible surge in cases in the coming days, there’s concern they could be billions in debt when it’s over. Pennsylvania’s governor recently announced a $450 million dollar loan package to help them stay afloat. But as WLVR’s Tyler Pratt reports, advocates are saying hospitals would rather get a tax break.

Pennsylvania’s Hospital Emergency Loan Program or HELP offers a maximum of $10 million per hospital, at a very low, half percent interest rate. Hospitals could start applying for it this week.

“The hospital emergency loan program will help ensure every hospital can afford to get equipment essential to fighting this war without facing financial ruin,” said Carter.

But the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, or HAP, estimates Pennsylvania hospitals have already lost 40 percent of their revenue so far this year. In a video released Monday, President Andy Carter said that’s expected to increase as hospitals absorb COVID-19-related expenses while unable to perform elective surgeries and non-emergency care. 

“HAP appreciates the commonwealth’s gesture toward relieving a cash flow crunch, but a loan, capped at a relatively modest amount, falls dramatically short of what is needed to shore up the hospital community’s short- and long-term solvency.”

HAP is asking the state to waive hospitals’ Quality Care Assessment tax payments instead. Those total about $500 million dollars. Carter says if hospitals fall behind on those payments – they won’t get federal matching dollars they depend on.


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