Wyoming’s smallest hospitals received tens of millions of dollars in federal loans in April and May, funds that helped keep the facilities afloat due to the effects of pandemic-ravaged hospital coffers.
In the spring, Congress passed the CARES law, which included the payment protection program. The incentive program provided loans to businesses that promised not to lay off employees, loans that would become grants – and that would not have had to be repaid – if businesses kept their employees. Thousands of Wyoming companies have applied for loans and over 1,600 secured loans in excess of $ 150,000.
Suppliers across the state, from dentists to urologists and surgical centers to radiology clinics, have received loans from the PPP, as well as a wide range of other activities, including the oil and gas industry, the Diocese of Cheyenne and the restaurants, such as Casper’s FireRock steakhouse.
Wyoming hospitals have received some of the biggest loans here. Sixteen facilities, many of the state’s smallest hospitals, collectively received between $ 28 and $ 64 million as part of the program. Twelve of the 16 are critical access hospitals, which means they are small geographically isolated rural structures. PPP funds have integrated tens of millions of dollars distributed to hospitals in the spring as part of another provision of the CARES law.
Hospitals were hit by the pandemic. To preserve beds, staff and equipment, facilities across the state and the nation have suspended elective procedures – which are profitable and profitable parts of hospital business models. In addition, trips to the emergency rooms and clinics precipitated. Across Wyoming, hospitals have lost millions; Eric Boley, the head of the state hospital association, told Star-Tribune in May that facilities were down $ 60 million in May alone.
Cheyenne Regional, who did not receive PPP money but received other stimulus funds, lost $ 27 million in April. The volume of Campbell County Health has dropped by 50%. Wyoming Medical Center did not say how much it lost, but a spokesman said it had received $ 6 million in stimulus funds and “the actual losses suffered since March far exceed this initial payment and we continue to seek economic aid in other areas. “”.
A spokeswoman for Cheyenne Regional echoed that sentiment.
“Funding the stimulus we received was certainly beneficial and equates to about a month of lost revenue,” said spokeswoman Kathryn Baker. “So although useful, it only covered a portion of our lost revenue.”
Of the facilities that received PPP funds, the North Lincoln County hospital district and Afton’s Powell Valley Health Care have both guaranteed between $ 5 million and $ 10 million in aid, federal data show. Both facilities also received other stimulus funds totaling $ 10 million. Both are critical access structures.
The Johnson County hospital district in Buffalo, the commemorative hospitals in the Carbon and Converse counties, and the hospital districts in the northern Big Horn and southern Lincoln counties each received between $ 2 million to $ 5 million. Each of these five facilities also received several million other stimulus funding; Converse received $ 5.8 million, South Lincoln received $ 3.8 million, and the other three received just over $ 4 million. All five are also critical access hospitals.
Wind River Community Health also received between $ 2 million and $ 4 million, plus relatively small $ 9,400 in other stimulus funds. The Central Wyoming Community Health Center, which is based in Casper but has offices elsewhere in the state, was paid between $ 1 million and $ 2 million in PPP funding, in addition to $ 700,000 in other stimulus payments.
Four other hospitals received between $ 1 million and $ 2 million: Crook County medical services districts, Hot Springs hospital district, Casper’s for-profit medical center, and Weston County hospital district. All four received all other stimulus money; Summit received the minimum from that pot, $ 1.2 million, while the rest received between $ 3.6 million and $ 4.1 million. Of these, Summit alone is not a critical access facility.
The last three hospitals – Aspen Mountain Medical Center and the hospital districts of Niobrara County and South Big Horn, received between $ 350,000 under the personnel protection program. The latter two structures each received approximately $ 3.5 million.