Cameron hospital with analysis (copy)

Patrons at the Cameron Regional Medical Center had an outside tent for COVID-19 2020 testing. Now the hospital is saying they would appreciate more grants.

Some rural hospitals in Missouri are receiving as much as $150,000 in CARES Act funding to help offset a loss of revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Others, meanwhile, might have to pay back parts of previous pandemic-related relief.

A news release from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services stated 62 rural hospitals that provide services to underserved populations would be receiving funds if they can attest that business interruptions resulted in loss of revenue.

But that doesn’t include all medical facilities. Officials at Cameron Regional Medical Center not only don’t expect to see new CARES Act funding, they are concerned they may need to pay former grants back.

Joseph Abrutz Jr., hospital administrator at Cameron Regional Medical Center, said some Payment Protection Program grant money previously given to the facility may need to be returned to the federal government.

Abrutz said the hospital received more than $11 million last year for payment of about 400 workers. He said the Cameron hospital experienced a revenue dip of around $13 million dollars this year.

Abrutz said he has been made aware Cameron Regional Medical Center may have to pay back about half of its payment protection loans, amounting to about $5 million.

“We would hope to receive some of the money from that $1.9 trillion this year, but unless there’s something different it would be a pleasant surprise if we received any money of what was passed a couple weeks ago,” Abrutz said. “We were pleased with what we received last year, but quite frankly we were not pleased with what was passed by the administration and Congress.”

Dave Dillon, a spokesman for the Missouri Hospital Association, said in an email that overall rural hospitals are expected to have a positive operating margin for 2020, but each hospital has its own set of financial challenges. Not all received grants, and some will have to pay back portions to the U.S. Treasury.

Abrutz said the hospital has provided a significant amount of resources for COVID-19 testing and vaccinations and has used money out of its own pocket. He said he believes they could use more grant money than they have received.

Clayton Anderson can be reached at clayton.anderson@newspressnow.com. Follow him on twitter: @NPNowAnderson.

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