WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) and Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.) announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) COVID-19 High-Impact Allocation Provider Relief Fund, has awarded $32.3 million to the Gallup Indian Medical Center, Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services (RMCHHCS) Hospital, UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center, and Shiprock-Northern Navajo Medical Center.
The hospitals receiving payments through the provider relief fund, which was created under the CARES Act, will receive $50,000 per each COVID-19 admission based on in-patient admissions from January 1 through June 10. Communities in Northwest New Mexico and the Navajo Nation were hit disproportionately hard at the beginning of the pandemic, and despite good progress against the disease, are still in need of resources.
“It is critical that New Mexico’s hospitals, especially those that serve Tribal communities which often lack equal access to federal coronavirus resources, receive financial support to deliver critical healthcare services throughout this global pandemic. As COVID-19 continues to surge around the country, more federal funding will be necessary to make sure that every community gets the help they need to contain this virus,” said Udall, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.
“Indian Country has been at the epicenter of this devastating pandemic in New Mexico. I am proud to support these desperately needed resources to allow health providers to keep providing lifesaving care,” said Heinrich. “These providers have been on the frontlines for months now, treating large numbers of patients, coping with strained resources, and trying to mitigate the spread of the virus. I’m grateful to all of the health care workers at these hospitals for how much they have taken on to help save the lives of their fellow New Mexicans. I will keep doing everything in my power to secure the funding and resources every community in New Mexico needs for a strong, science-based public health response.”
“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals and health care workers have been on the front lines working to keep our communities healthy and combat this virus. I’m glad that this CARES Act funding will go toward hospitals serving Tribal communities that are among the hardest hit by this virus,” said Luján. “I was also proud to support the Heroes Act, which would provide much-needed ?additional support for hospitals, frontline workers, and New Mexico families.”
“Every community deserves the resources to fight this pandemic, but Native communities have been purposefully harmed because of the history of broken promises that put Native Americans at greater risk of contracting the virus. We’ve all seen the reports about lack of running water, inability to access broadband internet for telehealth, and the alarming rates of infection in Indian Country. The U.S. Department of Human Services’ funding is a small part of what is due but it is a step to provide support for hospitals and doctors’ offices that serve Native communities,” said Haaland, Co-Chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus.
“Hospitals across New Mexico continue to battle COVID-19 while fighting to keep their doors open. Our Tribes and Pueblos are among those hit the hardest and I’ve been fighting to get the federal resources our providers need to serve communities statewide. There is more work to ensure federal resources reach hospitals across the state, and this investment is an important step towards supporting our healthcare system and providing critical care,” said Torres Small.
A breakdown of grant recipients is below:
- Gallup Indian Medical Center, $12,300,000
- RMCHHCS Hospital, $5,300,000
- UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center, $3,400,000
- Shiprock-Northern Navajo Medical Center, $11,300,000