Smith, Fisher Praise Extending PPP To Small Rural Hospitals Posted by John Axtell Date: April 24, 2020 4 Views WASHINGTON, D.C. – Nebraska U-S Senator Deb Fischer of Valentine and 3rd District Congressman Adrian Smith of Gering and Senator Deb Fischer are praising the Treasury Department and the Small Business Administration for opening the Paycheck Protection Program to small hospitals. The new rule covering hospitals receiving less than half of their funding from state and local governments effectively makes all small hospitals in the 3rd District eligible for the program of forgivable low-interest loans Smith and Fischer say in a joint statement that “inclusion of small hospitals in PPP is great news for rural America. Nebraskans across the state rely on rural hospitals and it is critical these hospitals have access to PPP as they pause non-essential operations to comply with social distancing guidelines.” Fischer had spoken directly to President Trump and Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin about the need for the change, citing the fact that publicly-owned hospitals are vital community assets and often the largest employers in rural Nebraska. Smith led more than 80 House members in writing a letter to Mnuchin and Small Business Administration administrator Jovita Carranza pushing for the small hospitals to be eligible for PPP. National Rural Health Association CEO Alan Moran says his group greatly appreciates all the hard work of Smith, Fischer, and others to correct what he calls “this grave inequity” of initially excluding small, rural, non-profit governmental hospitals from the program. Moran says those hospitals care for some of the most vulnerable patients in the nation, but many of them are financially vulnerable because of coronvirus limits on elective surgeries and were facing being forced to shutter their doors without access to PPP funding.