CARMEL, N.Y. - Standing with officials from Putnam Hospital in Carmel earlier this month, U.S. Sen. Chuck. Schumer urged the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to deliver emergency funding to provide critical support to the front-line doctors, nurses, staff, and communities surrounding the Putnam Hospital.
Schumer said Putnam Hospital has been overlooked by the HHS in its “arbitrary and unfair” distribution of additional emergency relief funding from the $175 billion Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (Provider Relief Fund) that he negotiated for the CARES Act.
Specifically, Schumer called on HHS to create a new distribution formula to make up for its “arbitrary formulas that failed to provide Putnam Hospital, and other hard-hit New York hospitals,” with much-needed emergency aid from the HHS Provider Relief Fund. Schumer said that back in April every hospital received an initial general allocation from the HHS Provider Relief Fund, but as time went on and COVID cases surged across the Hudson Valley many hospitals began receiving specialized emergency funding from the Provider Relief Fund. Despite other hospitals located within the Putnam, Rockland, and Westchester County region receiving an average of $36,122,424 in specialized funding during a May 7 HHS “Hot Spot” funding round, the staff at Putnam Hospital waited for additional relief while caring for roughly 300 patients with COVID-19. During this time, Schumer said, the hospital experienced unprecedented budget shortfalls with $21,395,814 in losses between March and June compared to the same time last year, even taking Putnam Hospital’s initial $3 million general payment into account.
During his july 16 visit to the hospital, Schumer said that compared to the $3,069,000 that Putnam Hospital received thus far as of June 9 from the HHS Provider Relief Fund, the 19 other hospitals previously mentioned received an average of $43,611,611 in funding. When Schumer discovered that Putnam Hospital, and nearly two dozen others, were shortchanged and had not received any specialized funding after waiting for months because of “arbitrary HHS policies,” he called on HHS to deliver those funds to Putnam Hospital.
“The doctors, nurses, and staff at Putnam Hospital have made incredible sacrifices throughout this pandemic, putting public health above profit and working ceaselessly to help the Hudson Valley beat back the virus and flatten the curve,” Schumer said. “Despite these incredible sacrifices, Putnam Hospital has not yet seen its fair share of federal emergency aid that I specifically negotiated into the CARES Act and fought for in the Interim ‘Corona 3.5’ package for them. If HHS saw the months of tireless work that has taken place at Putnam Hospital, they would know right away that they need to reassess their arbitrary formula that that has left employees with dwindling PPE (personal protection equipment), testing kits, and other critical resources that are needed on the front lines.”
Schumer said that a lack of federal support from HHS has forced the hospital to take on extra costs that could have been alleviated by the HHS Provider Relief Fund. They have spent over $500,000 to obtain PPE, supplies, and other critical equipment were forced to stop capital spending and defer expenses, and spend a significant amount outfitting the hospital to provide a safe environment to treat COVID-19 patients.
“Putnam Hospital has not received a substantial payment from the HHS Provider Relief Fund since April, all while some of our neighboring hospitals down the road have gotten millions,” said Peter Kelly, president of Putnam Hospital. “Our dedicated nurses, doctors, and staff have worked around the clock for months to care for our patients and additional resources to support them will go a long way as we continue to fight this pandemic each day here in Putnam County.
“We thank Senator Schumer for fighting to get Putnam Hospital the funding that we need to protect our workers and deliver the highest level of care to our patients,” Kelly added.
In the latest specialized funding round announced by HHS on Friday, July 17, Putnam Hospital was once again overlooked.
New York still has the highest recorded number of coronavirus cases in the nation with over 407,000 confirmed cases, including about 70,000 cases in the Hudson Valley region. Employees at Putnam Hospital have continued to express concerns surrounding the need for additional funding for PPE and testing kits.
The Senator said he is calling on HHS to use the remaining funds in the Provider Relief Fund to ensure that every hospital in New York State receives sufficient funding.
Article provided by Sen. Schumer’s office