Wicker, Smith Propose Paycheck Protection Program Fix for Rural Hospitals

Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Tina Smith (D-MN) introduced bipartisan legislation that would waive Small Business Administration (SBA) affiliation rules for rural hospitals. The bill would allow non-profit critical access hospitals and hospitals that serve rural areas to qualify for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans by removing their SBA affiliation status. The CARES Act established the PPP to provide relief to small businesses with fewer than 500 employees in the form of forgivable loans. Currently, however, many small hospitals operate as part of a larger health system that exceeds the 500-employee limit under SBA’s affiliation rules. The bill would remove this restriction and grant rural hospitals access to the PPP program, allowing them to retain critical staff and provide quality care to patients for the duration of the pandemic. Please continue to contact your Members of Congress on behalf of this important legislation!