WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) applauded $1,854,974 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to assist the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) in supporting rural hospitals across the Commonwealth as they combat the COVID-19 crisis. The federal funding was made possible through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which allocated $150 million to assist hospitals funded through the Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP) respond to this public health emergency.
“Hospitals everywhere are being squeezed during this pandemic, but those in rural areas face an additional set of challenges as they strive to make the most of limited resources to treat patients and fight this crisis,” said the Senators. “We are very pleased to see this funding go towards helping rural hospitals in Virginia keep their doors open to the community and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Per the CARES Act, this flexible funding can be used to expand testing and laboratory services as well as to purchase of personal protective equipment to minimize COVID-19 exposure.
The funding was awarded through the Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP) which helps states support rural hospitals with 49 beds or fewer. SHIP allows small rural hospitals to become or join accountable care organizations (ACOs), participate in shared savings programs, and purchase health information technology (hardware and software), equipment, and/or training to comply with quality improvement activities such as advancing patient care information, promoting interoperability, and payment bundling.