ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A new federal database is giving a look at which New Mexico hospitals and health care providers received federal funding related to the coronavirus. The database published on the CDC’s website lists over 1,100 different New Mexico entities that received CARES Act aid funding under the federal Health and Human Services Provider Relief Fund.
Out of the more than $175 billion in available aid, New Mexico health care providers received over $315-million in funding. Payouts ranged from as low as $6 to one Albuquerque health care entity, to more than $56-million given to one of the state’s largest health care providers, Presbyterian Healthcare Services.
One of the state’s biggest partners in COVID-19 testing, TriCore Reference Labs received about $1.5-million from the Provider Relief Fund. TriCore has been running tests 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the last several months. Today, the company says it processes about 50% of the state’s COVID tests.
“All of that money was used to go toward COVID testing in terms of purchasing the new lab testing equipment, supplies, reagents, it goes toward the labor force,” TriCore Chief Financial Officer Renee Ennis said. “Every bit of the relief funding helps.”
TriCore’s $1.5 million dollar aid payment represents a fraction of the $6-million the company says its invested in COVID-19 efforts. The company says it ramped up costly COVID-19 testing while elective surgeries and general doctors appointments were canceled during the early months of the pandemic, which cut into TriCore’s main testing business.
“The funding came when TriCore saw its (normal testing) volumes drop by 50% and at the same time, we’re trying to ramp up,” Ennis said. “The funding from the CARES Act did allow TriCore to assist New Mexico in fighting the pandemic and maintaining our labor force during this whole time.”
University of New Mexico Hospital got about $24-million in aid from the Provider Relief Fund across its Lovelace Rehab facility, the Sandoval Regional Hospital, and the main Albuquerque Hospital.
In a statement provided to KRQE News 13, a spokesman for UNM Hospital, Mark Rudi said, ” the funds are being used to assist with the gap in lost revenues due to cancelling or postponing elective procedures during the pandemic.” UNMH also says the funds are also being used to assist with added pandemic response costs.
Presbyterian Healthcare Services received the most money out of any other provider in New Mexico, landing $56.1-million from the Provider Relief Fund. Presbyterian runs three hospitals in the Albuquerque-metro area, 800 medical clinics across New Mexico and smaller regional hospitals in Tucumcari, Clovis, Ruidoso, Socorro, Santa Fe, Española.
“Without these funds, our hospital and physician practice, we are projecting a loss of about $180 million dollars through the end of this year,” said Dale Maxwell, President and CEO of Presbyterian Healthcare Services. “It is stabilizing the business and for us its been more about how do we stabilize our workforce.”
Maxwell says the $56-million in aid received by Presbyterian in part helped the healthcare company keep its roughly 13,000 employees working throughout the state without having to take furloughs or paycuts. Maxwell says normal revenues dropped by about 40% in March, during the start of the COVID-19 related closures.
Presbyterian is responsible for much of the testing operations in Albuquerque at Balloon Fiesta Park. Maxwell says the company is grateful it received federal aid early on in the pandemic response.
“Will they cover all of our financial losses? The answer to that is no, but can we really expect for the federal funds to you know fully stop that gap? I don’t think we can,” Maxwell said. “So I think the support we have is just appreciated.”
Among the other recipients of federal aid include Lovelace Health System, which received over $8.2-million. The Rohoboth McKinley hospital in Gallup which saw one of the first surges of COVID patients from the Navajo Nation received $5.8-million in relief funds. The La Vida Llena elder care facility which say 18 COVID-19 deaths after an outbreak, it received more than $549,000 in federal aid.