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Hospital applies for $2.8 million under CARES Act

The local public hospital district that governs Coulee Medical Center approved applying for a so-called “loan” Thursday under the federal Payroll Protection Program (PPP) of the CARES Act passed by Congress in March to help keep workers employed during the current pandemic.

The commissioners of Douglas, Grant, Lincoln, Okanogan Hospital District 6 approved Resolution 1096 authorizing the issuance of a promissory note for up to $3 million to pay for eight weeks of payroll.

CMC, like many other hospitals all around the nation, has stopped elective surgeries and other types of activities that provide the bulk of its revenue during the statewide shutdown to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Chief Financial Officer Kelly Hughes said Tuesday the district’s application through North Cascades Bank has been approved for a nearly $2.8 million loan, which will be forgiven if the hospital keeps everyone employed and working as much as last year.

With the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act, Congress approved $2 trillion intended to keep people working, hospitals open, and state programs and businesses funded long enough to allow people to stay home and slow the spread of the SARS COV-2 virus long enough to keep it from overwhelming health care systems.

Hughes said the $2,774,900 loan is required to be funded within 10 days.

In the meantime, however, the district has also received a $3 million advance on Medicare payments for the year and will receive another $1.3 million as a “bridge payment” to get the hospital through until the PPP funds come through.

If the hospital did not meet the terms of the PPP loan by laying off workers, it would have to start payments in six months. Under the CARES Act, the loan will be forgiven if it’s used to keep workers on.

Hughes pointed to CMC’s history of digging out of millions in debt a couple years ago as reason not to worry.

“We were able to dig ourselves out of that $3.5 million hole without any help at all, so we’re going to be able to make it thorugh this.,” she told the commissioners.


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