MTN News: Tester urges feds for more medical supplies, funding

by Chaquille Cozart

Montana U.S. Sen. Jon Tester urged in a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human services Monday to provide promised medical safety supplies and funding.

“I write today to ensure rural states like Montana have access to test kits, relevant supplies, personal protective equipment (PPE), and ventilators,” Tester wrote.

Supplies in rural Montana hospitals have dwindled since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. These hospitals are mainly in need of the supplies that are used to keep their health care workers safe from the coronavirus, which causes COVID-19.

As of Monday afternoon, Montana had 177 confirmed COVID-19 cases and four reported deaths, according to the state. One has been reported in Madison, two in Toole, and one in Lincoln County.

Tester explained in the letter that rural hospitals in Montana need financial assistance immediately.

“Even in the best of times, rural hospitals struggle to balance the books and stay afloat given the extremely low patient volume and increasing move toward home health,” Tester wrote.

These hospitals are inadequately prepared to deal with a pandemic like the COVID-19 at this time, he said.

“The impact of COVID-19 may be more catastrophic in these remote communities if they are not readily equipped to face incoming challenges,” Tester wrote.