Loan program to help with local healthcare; Pineville Community Health Center to receive funding

Published 7:26 am Thursday, December 2, 2021

Rural communities across the commonwealth are looking to improve health care access for Kentucky residents, and today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Pineville Community Health Center Inc. (PCHC) is the first health care facility to be approved for support through the Kentucky Rural Hospital Loan Program (KRHLP).

“The challenges we have faced over the past year and a half have greatly emphasized the importance of supporting health care facilities throughout the state,” Gov. Beshear said. “We have all seen the significant role played by hospitals within our communities, and that is especially true in rural areas where access to medical care faces greater obstacles. I want to congratulate the leadership at the Pineville Community Health Center on this loan approval and thank them for having the foresight to quickly capitalize on this new opportunity to benefit residents in Eastern Kentucky.”

The KRHLP is making $20 million in low-interest loans available to assist rural hospitals throughout the state. PCHC was approved by the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) for a $1 million loan at 1% interest over a five-year term. Funding will assist with operational expenses at the facility, which provides inpatient and outpatient medical care for residents and visitors in Bell County and throughout the region. In accordance with the loan agreement, PCHC must maintain at least 87 full-time employees and all project costs must be incurred by year-end 2021. Currently, PCHC employs 102 full-time staff members.

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PCHC representatives said the funds will be used to help acquire medical equipment, supplies and staffing to improve medical services provided to the Pineville community and other residents of Bell County and the surrounding area.

Established during the 2020 Regular Session of the General Assembly, KRHLP began accepting applications in recent weeks to support rural hospitals across the state. Many facilities have experienced a rise in operating costs over the past 20 months in response to the pandemic.

The $20 million in available funds will help maintain or upgrade hospital facilities across the state, including staffing and services. The program will directly impact 1.8 million Kentuckians living in rural areas.

Any hospital located within a Kentucky county with a population of less than 50,000 is eligible to apply for KRHLP. To qualify for financing, a rural hospital must request funds to maintain or upgrade existing facilities, current staffing or available services.

Eligible hospitals can receive a loan amount ranging from $25,000 to $1 million per hospital facility with a 1% fixed interest rate.

Interested applicants should review the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau data and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ Kentucky hospital directory by county to confirm their status as a rural hospital within the state. The additional loan requirements and application process are now available to view on the Cabinet for

Economic Development’s Kentucky business incentives webpage.

This support for the Pineville community builds on actions taken by the Governor to assist local hospitals throughout the pandemic.

In June 2020, Gov. Beshear and U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell announced $383 million in state and federal dollars for 54 rural hospitals by settling a 13-year-old dispute regarding Medicaid funding rates.
In January 2021, Gov. Beshear announced Kentucky hospitals will receive an additional $800 million to $1 billion annually to help advance the quality of care of Medicaid members and provide a stable base for hospitals that will extend beyond the financial challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. CHFS received approval from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on a new directed payment initiative that increases inpatient Medicaid payments for Kentucky hospitals.

In September, the Governor noted the commonwealth provided $1.8 billion in additional funding for hospitals since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, primarily in extra Medicaid reimbursements.

The administration also assisted hospitals with more than 325 Kentucky National Guard members across the commonwealth supporting health care heroes as they continue to fight COVID-19. In addition, 28 hospitals received nursing student support from Galen College of Nursing, Eastern Kentucky University, Western Kentucky University and regional Kentucky Community and Technical College System campuses.

The Governor also secured a National Disaster Medical System Team to assist St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead and five, 10-member Federal Emergency Management Agency EMS strike teams, which were centrally dispatched to respond to any area of need in the state. The administration also is partnering with AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC). AmeriCorps NCCC members are from all over the country, and four teams were deployed to Kentucky specifically to help our hospitals.

To further support health care workers, the state also is sponsoring six community-testing sites across Kentucky, in partnership with Gravity Diagnostics, the University of Kentucky and Wild Health.

Hospital support and rural investment and facility upgrades spurred through KRHLP advance recent economic momentum across the commonwealth.

This year, the commonwealth has shattered every economic development record in the books for yearly investment totals. Earlier this week, Gov. Beshear announced year-to-date, private-sector new-location and expansion announcements topped $10.3 billion in total planned investment and commitments to create 15,800-plus full-time jobs across the coming years. Through September, Kentucky’s average incentivized hourly wage is $24.15 before benefits, a 10% increase over the previous year.

In September, Gov. Beshear, Ford Motor Co. Executive Chair Bill Ford, CEO Jim Farley, and Dong-Seob Jee, president of SK Innovation’s battery business, announced the single largest economic development project in the history of the commonwealth, celebrating a transformative $5.8 billion investment that will create 5,000 jobs and places Kentucky at the forefront of the automotive industry’s future.

In July, thanks to strong fiscal management by the Beshear administration, the state budget office reported the commonwealth ended the 2021 fiscal year with a general fund surplus of over $1.1 billion – the highest ever in the commonwealth – and a 10.9% increase in general fund receipts to $12.8 billion.

In May, Moody’s Analytics published a positive economic outlook for Kentucky, noting mass vaccination as the driving force behind a sustained recovery in consumer services. The state’s recovery, Moody’s said, benefited from earlier reopening efforts and increased demand for manufactured goods over services. The report also found Kentucky’s manufacturing industry outperformed the nation’s since the national downturn last year.

Fitch Ratings in May improved the state’s financial outlook to stable, reflecting the commonwealth’s solid economic recovery. The state’s April sales tax receipts set an all-time monthly record at $486.5 million, as did vehicle usage tax receipts at over $64 million.

In March, Site Selection magazine’s annual Governor’s Cup rankings for 2020 positioned Kentucky atop the South Central region, and third nationally, for qualifying projects per capita. The commonwealth also placed seventh overall in total projects, the highest of any state with a population under 5 million. Site Selection also recently placed Kentucky in a tie for fifth in its 2021 Prosperity Cup rankings, positioning the state among the national leaders for business climate.