‘HELP’ loans aim to keep hospitals afloat while dealing with COVID-19 patient surge

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A hospital bed (Nexstar, file)

HARRISBURG, DAUPHIN COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) In a statement sent out Friday, Governor Tom Wolf announced a program to provide short term relief to Pennsylvania’s hospitals who are dealing with, as of Friday, more than 19,000 positive cases of COVID-19 in the state. It is called the Hospital Emergency Loan Program, or HELP.

“The combination of increased costs and reduced revenue has hurt many hospitals financially,” Gov. Wolf said. “We must support our hospitals through this unprecedented time. When this pandemic finally ends, we’re going to need hospitals to care for our regular medical needs, like heart attacks and broken bones. This new loan program will provide immediate relief to our hospitals, which are on the frontlines of this pandemic.”

The $450 million loan package will provide financial support for Pennsylvania’s hospitals for things like sufficient personnel, equipment, and personal protective equipment.

According to the release, “The funding was dispersed by the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) and will be administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development through the Pennsylvania First Program (PA First). It was approved by Treasurer Joe Torsella, who played a crucial role in the expedited release of this emergency funding.” ​

“Hospitals across Pennsylvania should be focused on saving lives, not worrying about how to make ends meet until federal relief funds arrive months from now,” said Pennsylvania State Treasurer Joe Torsella, whose office must approve any investments made by the PENNVEST board. “I am proud to approve this prudent investment that will provide immediate, low-cost, and direct financing to enable hospitals to sufficiently staff their floors, purchase treatment supplies and protective equipment, and successfully prepare for the surge of COVID-19 patients in the coming weeks. I commend the PENNVEST board ​for taking this step, and Governor Wolf for his leadership and continued commitment to protecting Pennsylvanians throughout this crisis.”

Applications will be available on DCED’s website starting at 10:00 AM April 13 through April 20. The costs must be incurred between March 1 and Sept. 1.

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