Two west central Minn. health systems seek Paycheck Protection Program funds
CCM Health in Montevideo and Swift County-Benson Health Services qualify for federal funding aimed at keeping staff on payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic. The county boards in Chippewa and Swift counties approved action for the funding.
MONTEVIDEO — Swift County-Benson Health Services and CCM Health in Montevideo are taking advantage of federal support to manage the financial hurt resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Chippewa County Board of Commissioners approved action at its meeting Tuesday allowing CCM Health to obtain nearly $4.3 million through the Paycheck Protection Program administered by the federal Small Business Administration. The Montevideo City Council approved the action Monday. Brian Lovdahl, CEO of CCM Health, told the commissioners he expected the hospital board would do likewise that afternoon.
“Everybody understands and knows our business has definitely been hurt by the COVID pandemic,” Lovdahl told the commissioners. He said the directive not allowing outpatient procedures has reduced clinic volumes significantly. Laboratory and radiology revenues are down significantly as well.
The Paycheck Protection Program is offered by the federal government as an incentive to maintain staff on the payroll. Lovdahl said CCM can use the funds to cover payroll and utilities costs during an eight-week period. The funds will be considered a forgivable loan if used for those qualifying purposes.
The amount to be awarded is based on 2.5 times the costs incurred by CCM Health during a comparable period in 2019. Lovdahl said CCM expects it will have to pay back about $600,000 of the total since it is not likely to expend the full amount during the eight-week period. Funds not paid back immediately would have to be paid off as a loan with a 1 percent interest rate.
The Swift County Board of Commissioners approved action at its meeting Tuesday to obtain $1,311,038 in Paycheck Protection Program funds for Swift County-Benson Health Services. Co-CEO Dan Enderson told the commissioners the Benson City Council and hospital district board both approved the action the preceding night.
The commissioners also approved a request by Swift County-Benson Health Services to obtain $2,279,656 from Medicare and Medicaid Advance or Accelerated Payment Programs aimed at assisting health facilities with the financial difficulties posed by the pandemic. In this case, after a 120-day waiting period, the federal government will process Medicare and Medicaid claims submitted by the health system and apply the payments to the loan amount until it is repaid, according to Enderson.
The total of the two loans is nearly $3.6 million. Swift County-Benson Health Services intends to use only the funds that would be considered a forgivable loan, or essentially a grant.
Enderson said the hospital district board of directors approved seeking the Paycheck Protection Program funds after consulting with CentraCare, which supported it. Swift County-Benson Health Services has a management agreement with CentraCare.
“Would we absolutely need those dollars? It’s still a little hard to predict as to how our financial results are going to fall for the rest of the year. It’s possible we could get by by exhausting all of our reserves,” Enderson told the commissioners.
Commissioner Joe Fox said the federal funds can serve as a safety net for the health care operations, and funds not used can be returned.
Enderson said the health care facility also recently learned that there is federal legislation aimed at providing direct financial support to rural health clinics and critical care hospitals. The details are not yet known, but the legislation could provide anywhere from $100,000 to $160,000 to a qualifying rural clinic and somewhere between $1 million to $4 million for a qualifying critical care hospital based on its size.