Tester Secures More Than $4 Million for 48 Rural Montana Hospitals to Combat Pandemic

CARES Act funding will go toward implementing critical data systems

U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced that he secured $4,047,216 for 48 Montana hospitals to support pandemic preparedness through the Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP). The funding was allocated through the Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and will go toward assisting eligible hospitals in meeting the costs of implementing critical data systems.

“Folks in rural Montana have always known the importance of our small rural hospitals, but in the face of this pandemic, these facilities could not be more critical in keeping our communities safe and healthy,” said Tester. “I fought for this funding because our brave nurses and doctors on the frontlines need every resource available to save lives, and I’m going to keep pushing hard to continue to get them that support.”

Montana’s SHIP program is run through the Montana Office of Rural Health and Area Health Education Center, based at Montana State University. Montana is one of the largest state SHIP participants in the country, and the state’s program serves 48 Montana hospitals—47 of which are Critical Access Hospitals.

Tester has been pushing hard to make sure rural health care workers and providers receive the resources they need in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Just this week, Tester helped push to include $75 billion for hospitals into the interim coronavirus relief package after Senator Mitch McConnell’s initial legislation proposed no money for health providers.

He has also been personally urging Vice President Mike Pence to ensure the federal government fulfills its obligation to address the shortages of badly-needed medical supplies, test kits, and personal protective equipment for Montana’s frontline health workers and urging the Administration to prioritize rural providers in allocating resources for health providers. He has led the charge in pushing the federal government to make full use of its powers under the Defense Production Act to centralize supply chains of critical resources.

Tester has been working tirelessly to ensure that Montana is prepared to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. After 72 hours negotiating substantial, bipartisan improvements to COVID-19 stimulus legislation that had previously fallen far short, Tester voted to deliver critical, urgent relief to Montana workers, families, small businesses, hospitals and others hardest hit by the outbreak. This funding includes $1.25 billion for the state of Montana.

Visit tester.senate.gov/coronavirusresources for a list of resources for Montanans during the COVID-19 outbreak