In Call With HHS Secretary Alex Azar, Rep. Katko Advocates for Funding for CNY Hospitals

August 7, 2020
Press Release

SYRACUSE, NY— U.S. Rep. John Katko (NY-24) yesterday spoke directly with Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar to urge the immediate release of additional direct assistance to Central New York hospitals as they continue to suffer from the devastating impacts of COVID-19. Rep. Katko made this request after hearing from local hospitals facing prolonged financial uncertainty due to the costs incurred from the suspension of elective procedures and sharp decline in patient volume during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To provide local hospitals with initial support, in March, Rep. Katko supported passage of the CARES Act. This bipartisan legislation distributed millions of dollars in direct funding to hospitals through the Provider Relief Fund (PRF). While the region has continued to see a steady decline in COVID-19 cases, local hospitals remain in desperate need of relief as they continue to face the lasting financial impacts of this crisis. To provide support, in his call with Secretary Azar, Rep. Katko urged the immediate distribution of additional funds through the PRF.

“This week, I urged HHS Secretary Alex Azar to address several concerns brought to me by administrators from Upstate University Hospital, St. Joseph’s Hospital Center, Crouse Hospital, Oswego Health, Auburn Community Hospital, and Newark-Wayne Community Hospital, said Rep. Katko. “With these local hospitals still recovering from the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, they need relief now. I highlighted the dire needs of our hospitals for Secretary Azar and urged the immediate distribution of additional direct funds through the Provider Relief Fund. While the CARES Act has provided hospitals with significant initial direct relief, we must continue acting to ensure providers have the necessary resources to care for patients in our communities.”

To support hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic, Rep. Katko has consistently advocated for the distribution of additional funds for Central New York hospitals. As providers approach loan repayment dates for accelerated Medicare payments, Rep. Katko also introduced the COVID-19 Hospital Forgiveness Act. This bipartisan legislation would grant forgiveness for facilities who received these payments.