Reps. Pressley and Trahan Lead Massachusetts Delegation in Call for Governor to Support Community Hospitals and Community Health Centers

March 20, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswomen Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and Lori Trahan (MA-03) led the Massachusetts Delegation in a call for Governor Baker to prioritize the needs of community hospitals and community health centers that primarily serve Medicaid and uncompensated care patients across the Commonwealth with new funding provided from the passage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Among many critical provisions, the package included a temporary 6.2 percentage point boost in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) – which sets Massachusetts up to receive an additional $1.08 billion to help the state respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a letter addressed to the Governor, Representatives Lori Trahan (D-MA-03), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA-07), Senators Edward J. Markey and Elizabeth Warren, and Representatives Richard E. Neal (D-MA-01), James P. McGovern (D-MA-02), Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA-08), William Keating (D-MA-09), Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-MA-04), Katherine Clark (D-MA-05), and Seth Moulton (D-MA-06) draw attention to the critical, high-quality care these institutions provide vulnerable communities every day, but especially during this public health emergency.

“As you well know, community hospitals and CHCs are invaluable to traditionally underserved and low-income communities and they are on the frontlines of this national public health crisis. However, a number of them are operating at significant losses and with few reserves to absorb further financial setbacks. In particular, we are concerned that independent community hospitals have extremely limited cash reserves. It is crucial that these hospitals and community health centers receive the full extent of support available to ensure that they can continue to provide critical, high-quality care in this time of strain,” the Members wrote.

“We hope that the additional Medicaid funding will provide some immediate relief for Massachusetts. However, we know that more resources are needed. As Congress works to develop a third package to assist with the crisis, we hope that your Administration will do its utmost to ensure that our community hospitals and CHCs have the support that they need,” the Members continued.   

The full text of the letter can be found below, and a signed version of the letter can be found here.

 

March 20, 2020

 

The Honorable Charlie Baker

Governor 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

State House, Room 360

Boston, MA 

 

Dear Governor Baker,

We are writing to respectfully request that, as new federal resources become available in response to COVID-19, you prioritize the needs of community hospitals and community health centers (CHC) that primarily serve Medicaid and uncompensated care patients. 

As you well know, community hospitals and CHCs are invaluable to traditionally underserved and low-income communities and they are on the frontlines of this national public health crisis. However, a number of them are operating at significant losses and with few reserves to absorb further financial setbacks. In particular, we are concerned that independent community hospitals have extremely limited cash reserves. It is crucial that these hospitals and community health centers receive the full extent of support available to ensure that they can continue to provide critical, high-quality care in this time of strain.

Congress recently passed H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which was signed into law by the President on March 18. Among other critical provisions, the bill includes a temporary 6.2 percentage point boost in the federal matching rate for Medicaid, which would be in effect until the end of this public health emergency. We know that this funding will provide critical assistance during this difficult time and are working to ensure that additional resources become available to the Commonwealth to sustain our health care infrastructure, especially for community hospitals and CHCs that are under tremendous financial duress.

We hope that the additional Medicaid funding will provide some immediate relief for Massachusetts. However, we know that more resources are needed. As Congress works to develop a third package to assist with the crisis, we hope that your Administration will do its utmost to ensure that our community hospitals and CHCs have the support that they need. 

Thank you for your consideration of our request. We look forward to working with you to address this public health emergency.

Sincerely,

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