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NEW: Heeding Bipartisan Calls from Shaheen & Collins, HHS to Release Critical Federal Funds to Assist Health Providers on Frontlines of COVID Crisis

**Announcement follows Collins & Shaheen’s bipartisan push last month to distribute remaining COVID-19 relief for health care providers**

(Manchester, NH) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Susan Collins (R-ME) issued the following statements in response to the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) announcement that $25.5 billion in Provider Relief Fund awards will soon be made available. This is includes $8.5 billion to be set aside for rural providers, a determination made following strong advocacy from Senator Shaheen. The application process for providers to secure these awards will open later this month. HHS’ announcement follows a bipartisan call led by Collins and Shaheen to swiftly distribute these federal dollars to providers on the frontlines of the COVID crisis.

“As health care providers in New Hampshire and across the country battle another surge of patients, these federal dollars can’t come soon enough. I’ve been pushing for these resources to get out the door, and I’m relieved the process has been set in motion so those on the frontlines have the resources they need to keep their facilities open and continue caring for our community members. I’m especially encouraged the Administration heeded my call to prioritize rural providers, who are among the most in need. This set-aside will be crucial for states like New Hampshire,” said Shaheen. “I appreciate Senator Collins’ partnership to raise this issue and build strong bipartisan support to apply pressure and get these funds out. Time is of the essence and I encourage providers to apply as soon as the application process opens.”

“The pandemic has taken an enormous toll on our health care providers, particularly long-term care facilities and rural hospitals, and we cannot ignore the financial realities they face.  Three nursing homes have closed in Maine in just the past month and others have struggled to stay open,” said Senator Collins.  “I was proud to partner with Senator Shaheen to champion the Provider Relief Fund, which has been a lifeline for hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living centers and physician practices across the country.  The release of this additional funding will help prevent more health care facilities from closing their doors and protect patients’ access to care.”

During negotiations with the Senate and White House on the American Rescue Plan, Shaheen and Collins helped steer efforts to increase funding for the Provider Relief Fund to ensure hospitals, nursing homes and other health care providers on the frontlines have the support they need to keep their doors open and continue to care for Granite Staters and Americans across the country. Shaheen and Collins also defended the Provider Relief Fund from being considered as a pay-for amid negotiations on the historic bipartisan infrastructure legislation that cleared the Senate last month.