Bethlehem, April 10, 2020 – – State Sen. Lisa Boscola today announced that the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) Board of Directors, of which she is a member, held an emergency meeting to take action on the state’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The board voted on a resolution to authorize up to $450 million in bridge funding to hospitals and health systems in Pennsylvania that need financial help in preparing for any potential increases in patient traffic related to COVID-19.
“This action today utilizes PENNVEST funds to go out to hospitals that need it now, so that they can continue to provide essential life-saving services and obtain supplies such as personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline healthcare workers,” said State Senator Lisa Boscola (D-Northampton).
“PENNVEST sits on a pool of money – money that’s purpose is to provide low-interest loans and grants to municipalities for water, wastewater and sediment run-off mitigation projects – and there’s enough reserve to tap into some of that and get money to the hospitals. Federal dollars have been approved under the CARES Act, but some hospitals need the financial capital now,” Boscola added.
Under the agreement, PENNVEST would extend up to $450 million in loan funds to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Department of Community and Economic Development would administer the fund, and life-sustaining health care facilities would be able to obtain a bridge loan to continue preparing and stocking the needed supplies and materials to help in the
treatment of patients. Repayments to PENNVEST would be made back by the Commonwealth and applicants by September 30, 2020 with an interest rate of 0.5% on any borrowed funds. There are also other ways like medical tourism that people opt for to explore other treatment options.
“We have this money sitting here, and we have a dire need to get money to hospitals until federal dollars arrive, this is outside-the-box thinking and it’s what we as a state have to do to help get us through the worse to come with this pandemic,” Boscola said.