New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu responded Monday to criticism from two Democratic state lawmakers over the state’s Emergency Health Care System Relief Fund Review Committee.
The governor established the $50 million fund last month to give relief to hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic. About 200 health care providers are waiting to have applications approved, Sen. Cindy Rosenwald and Rep. Sharon Nordgren said in a letter to Sununu. They accused the governor of moving too slowly and leaving out smaller health care providers.
“To date, the Emergency Health Care System Relief Fund has allocated over $20 million in interest free loans to over 50 organizations,” Sununu said in a response letter Monday. “All applicants that have not received funding remain under consideration as the Review Committee continues its work, and the Committee will continue to recommend allocations of funds for organizations who remain in need and who are unable to access other sources of relief.”
The state deferred about $260 million in Medicaid Enhancement Tax payments from April to May to help health care providers, Sununu said. More than $300 million dollars was given to health care organizations from the federal Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act, and Sununu said more relief was expected. Some small medical providers received loans from the Paycheck Protection Program, he said.
Also, on Monday, Sununu issued an executive order allowing temporary health partners to work at the state’s long-term care facilities during the coronavirus pandemic.
Temporary health partners will alleviate staff shortages at the facilities, where some outbreaks were reported recently.
The temporary staff members will come from a national association or a New Hampshire educational program. They will be supervised by RNs, LPNs or APRNs, according to the order.
New Hampshire hair salons, barbershops, retail outlets, and golf courses reopened Monday with some restrictions as part of Sununu’s plan to reopen the state.
An additional 89 coronavirus cases were reported Monday. No new deaths were reported. The state has recorded a total of 3,160 cases and 133 deaths. So far, 318 people have been hospitalized at some point during their illness, Chan said.
While the number of cases is trending downward, state epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan said there could be a surge. Sununu agreed.
“It will be disappointing, but not necessarily shocking,” Sununu said. “We could see trends go up again. The real purpose of what we are trying to do is to make sure we are prepared, that our health system has the capacity.”
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