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Senators urge distribution of funds to health care providers

August 26, 2021 GMT

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Susan Collins of Maine are leading a group of senators in urging the distribution of remaining money in the federal Provider Relief Fund and other health care relief programs to assist with COVID-19 expenses.

The funding distribution process for hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living providers, and other health care providers “has been uneven,” their letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said Thursday.

“Shifting guidance, difficulties in reconciling tax information, the absence of a formal appeals process, and other technical problems have plagued the program,” it said.

Congress appropriated $178 billion for the fund, and $8.5 billion for rural providers. The senators said they agreed with a Government Accountability Office assessment that about 25% of fund appropriations — about $44 billion — and all of the rural provider funding remained uncommitted.

Shaheen, a Democrat, and Collins, a Republican, led a bipartisan list of 43 senators that included fellow senators Maggie Hassan, a Democrat from New Hampshire, and Angus King, an independent from Maine.

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THE NUMBERS

More than 106,000 people have tested positive for the virus in New Hampshire, including 357 cases announced Thursday. Two new deaths were announced, bringing the total to 1,410.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in New Hampshire has risen over the past two weeks from 154 new cases per day on Aug. 10 to 271 new cases per day on Tuesday.