The Geary County Hospital board of trustees recently recognized the outstanding support it has received from the efforts of Senator Jerry Moran and his staff for ensuring funds under the Small Business Administration (SBA) Payment Protection Program (PPP) were made available to GCH and all other government-owned rural hospitals in America. The Board also recognized Congressman Roger Marshall, a physician, as well as State Representative Lonnie Clark for their vigilance in advancing the needs of rural hospitals during the COVID crisis.
In early March 2020, the GCH staff began researching potential funding sources to address the significant costs and potential revenue erosion that COVID-19 readiness could impose on the hospital.
With GCH already in deep financial trouble as a result of high uninsured patient costs the hospital absorbed, and resultant cash flow concerns, the impact of COVID-19 could seal the fate of the institution forever. GCH staff saw that the SBA eligibility rules for “forgivable” loans excluded rural public hospitals, and ultimately the federal legislation which passed Congress overlooked that exclusion. Nevertheless, Sen. Moran heard the hospital’s call for help to correct that oversight, an oversight that even the American Hospital Association and other industry organizations had called out as well. Sen. Moran took the issue to congressional leadership and spearheaded the work to repeal that exclusion so that GCH, and public rural hospitals across America who otherwise met all rules, could receive SBA forgivable loans to ensure full employment during the crisis.
As a result of this funding, and other COVID relief dollars, on top of the turnaround management achievements realized so far, GCH continues to serve the community with COVID screening, testing and treatment as well as all other medical services available to those in need.
According to Chair Theresa Bramlage, “If it weren’t for the combination of efforts of Senator Moran, Congressman Marshall and State Representative Lonnie Clark, to help GCH and ultimately like hospitals across the state of Kansas and presumably across our nation, our hospital may not have survived. Instead, as a result of a steadfast management team and local fundraising support, our doors remain open to serve the health care needs of our community.
Geary Community Hospital received a SBA forgivable loan for payroll protection as well as other grants and outright loans from the federal government to address the COVID-19 crisis in April and expects additional support in May. The GCH Healthcare Foundation also held a major fund drive in March which culminated in $1.1m of philanthropic support, with lead gifts from The Bramlage Family Foundation and the GCHHF.