Congresswoman Elaine Luria Advocates for Rural Hospitals in the Wake of COVID-19

July 7, 2020
Press Release

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA –  Today, Congresswoman Luria announced her support for the Immediate Relief for Rural Facilities and Providers Act (H.R. 6365), which would provide financial assistance to rural health care providers that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019, nineteen rural hospitals closed due to financial strain—and with a massive uptick in patients due to coronavirus, our rural communities are relying on their local hospitals now more than ever.

“As the Representative for Virginia’s Eastern Shore, I know how critical it is to fully fund and support rural hospitals,” said Congresswoman Luria. “This bill would help rural hospitals, like those in Accomack and Northampton counties, receive the economic relief and federal support they need to continue to treat patients with the highest quality of care.”

Specifically, this bill would:

  • Give immediate relief for Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) and rural Prospective Payment System (PPS) hospitals with emergency mandatory one-time grants.
  • Help stabilize rural hospitals with a one-time, emergency grant for CAH and rural PPS hospitals to offset the revenue lost in the first 3 months of this year.
  • Facilitate hospital coordination with a 20 percent increase in Medicare reimbursement for any patient in a rural hospital to incentivize freeing up capacity in larger, overcrowded hospitals.
  • Give an emergency, one-time grant for all providers and ambulatory surgery centers equal to their total payroll from the first part of 2020.

Congresswoman Luria has been a consistent and vocal advocate for rural health care for constituents on the Eastern Shore. Congresswoman Luria voted for the CARES Act, which provided $150 million in grants toward rural hospitals to bolster their capacities. Thanks to this legislation, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded $1,152,305 in grant funding to the Eastern Shore Rural Health System to assist with their response to the COVID-19 crisis. This grant came after Congresswoman Luria met with Eastern Shore Rural Health to discuss the needs of rural health care providers and how hospitals were preparing for the pandemic. Additionally, Congresswoman Luria voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act (H.R. 1425), which will expand access to health insurance coverage, and lower prescription drug costs. 

Congresswoman Elaine Luria represents Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee, where she is the Vice Chair of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, where she serves as Chair of the Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee.