Aguilar Announces Additional $2.6 Million for Inland Empire Coronavirus Response
Today, Rep. Pete Aguilar announced $2,626,084 in supplemental funding from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help combat the coronavirus crisis in the Inland Empire. The funding, which comes after Congress appropriated over $200 billion to local health care providers through the CARES Act, will be distributed to three Inland Empire health care providers. SAC Health System (SACHS) has received $1,094,761, Inland Behavioral and Health Services (IBHS) has received $711,077 and the County of San Bernardino Department of Public Health has received $820,246. The funds will be used to help these agencies meet the challenges posed by the spread of COVID-19 by investing in telehealth options for patients, purchasing protective equipment for health care workers, and funding additional staff to increase patient care and testing capacities.
“The CARES Act was a critical step toward making sure our local health care systems could stay afloat during this crisis. This much-needed funding will help ensure Inland Empire residents have access to the medical care they need while better preparing health care professionals to manage the spread of coronavirus. I’ll continue working with my colleagues in Congress to secure additional funding for our community,” said Aguilar.
“SAC Health System has experienced a significant reduction in volume due to the COVID-19 pandemic and projects at least a $2 million cash deficit over the next three months. CARES funding will be used to expand our service to our communities, including purchasing PPE (personal protective equipment) and expanding telehealth via video visits and testing for COVID-19. We have been a test site for any IEHP member and have done more than 320 tests and we continue to test almost 50 patients daily. The funding also allows us to keep our doors open and continue to provide our full services although we have had a reduction in patient visits. CARES funding will subsidize a portion of the deficit, but we will need to continue to seek additional funding sources to ensure that SAC Health System can continue to provide comprehensive, integrated, medical and behavioral health services throughout this national crisis,” said Dr. Jason Lohr of SACHS.
“IBHS will utilize the funding provided under the CARES Act to prevent and protect its patients during the COVID-19 pandemic by purchasing much-needed supplies and equipment and assist in the delivery of care. We’re grateful for this federal funding, and will continue working to provide high-quality care for Inland Empire residents,” said Dr. Temetry Lindsey, President and CEO of IBHS.
“This funding will go to strategies to continue COVID-19 response efforts which include lab equipment, supplies, staffing, shipping, infection control, surge staffing, monitoring of individuals, and data management,” said Lana Culp, spokesperson for the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health.
Rep. Aguilar serves as the Vice Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, the committee responsible for allocating federal funding to federal agencies.