5/8 COVID-19 Updates and Information

May 8, 2020
E-newsletter

COVID-19 Updates and Information

For the most up-to-date resources and information on COVID-19, visit my website here.

BUSINESS OWNERS: With over $100 billion in PPP funds still available from Round 2, the SBA
is encouraging upstate New York small businesses and nonprofits to apply for PPP loans. Apply here.

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Participating in White House Roundtable with President Trump on Reopening America

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Today, I joined President Trump and a group of my colleagues at the White House to participate in a roundtable focused on reopening America. President Trump named me to his bipartisan Task Force on Reopening the Economy three weeks ago. We are working diligently in the North Country to develop a path forward that protects public health and safely re-opens our economy. I am determined to ensure that the top priorities of the North Country have a seat at the table whether it’s issues related to Northern Border, workforce development, rural healthcare, rural broadband or ensuring support for state and local government.  The President understands it is important for rural districts like ours to have a seat at the table when discussing ideas and policies to restart our economy. We discussed a wide variety of ideas that will be beneficial to the North Country, including prioritizing the hard-hit tourism industry, recognizing the importance of strengthening rural broadband, ending our reliance on China for pharmaceutical production, promoting fair trade policies, and incentivizing the direct hiring of laid-off workers. I will continue to work closely with President Trump and my bipartisan colleagues in Congress on ideas and policies to restart and reinvigorate our economy as we combat and ultimately beat COVID-19.

Holding Working Group Phone Calls 

This week, I held a series of successful working group phone calls with our county public health officials, local hospitals and community health centers, and local elected officials to hear their concerns and strategies for a path forward. It is very important for me to stay in contact with stakeholders like these in order to ensure I am meeting their needs at the federal level. I will continue to hold these working group calls next week.

Securing Over $63 Million for NY-21 Rural Hospitals

This week, I announced an estimated $63 million in HHS rural hospital funding from the CARES Act has gone to North Country rural hospitals. Recipients of the $63 million rural distribution include rural acute care general hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs), Rural Health Clinics (RHCs), and Community Health Centers located in rural areas. This round of funding for our North Country rural hospitals is desperately needed during this financially challenging time. I worked hard to ensure funding was included in the CARES Act for rural hospitals in underserved regions, and I will continue to work with the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure each North Country hospital is provided with adequate funding to make up for the loss of revenues experienced as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

The estimated individual disbursements to hospitals are as follows:

  • Adirondack Medical: $5,214,000   
  • Canton-Potsdam: $6,842,000   
  • Carthage Area: $4,031,000   
  • Claxton-Hepburn: $4,920,000   
  •  Clifton-Fine: $2,962,000   
  • Gouverneur: $3,455,000   
  • Lewis County: $4,592,000   
  • Massena: $4,190,000   
  • Nathan Littauer: $5,097,000   
  • River: $3,432,000   
  • Alice Hyde: $4,865,000   
  • Champlain Valley: $10,037,000   
  • Elizabethtown: $3,696,000   

Being Named to Leader McCarthy’s China Task Force

This week, I was named to Leader Kevin McCarthy’s China Task Force, aimed at working on policies to hold China accountable for its coverup of the initial spread of COVID-19, which originated in Wuhan. I am one of fifteen Members of Congress on the Task Force. I have been vocal in my push to hold the Communist Party of China accountable. I introduced a Resolution in the House calling for an international investigation and calling on China to pay back all nations impacted due to China’s intentional, early coverup of the deadly virus. I also sent a letter to Secretary Pompeo and Attorney General Barr urging them to bring a case against China to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for their cover-up of COVID-19. Additionally, I cosponsored a bill to move American pharmaceutical production out of China. The Communist Party of China intentionally withheld critical information on the spread of COVID-19 that could have saved thousands of lives. To this day, China continues to spread misinformation regarding this health crisis. The Communist Chinese Government must be held accountable. I appreciate Leader McCarthy naming me to the China Task Force and am looking forward to getting to work. Read more here.

Requesting Hospital Loan Forgiveness for Medicare Advanced/Accelerated Payment Program

I am leading a bipartisan letter to House Leadership with Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-16) urging them to include loan forgiveness for the Medicare accelerated/advance payment program in the phase 4 stimulus package. The Medicare accelerated/advance payment program enables hospitals to access Medicare payments upfront to help them deal with the surge of coronavirus patients. However, due to the current financial strain many hospitals are facing, they are unable to pay back the loans under the timetable envisioned in the CARES Act. The letter, signed by most members of the New York Congressional delegation, outlines the needs of New York State hospitals and urges leadership to provide additional relief for New York hospitals by providing loan forgiveness in the Medicare accelerated/advanced payment program. Our North Country hospitals are facing serious financial hardship as they continue to address this public health crisis. I am in constant contact with our hospital CEO’s, many of whom have had to take funding advances and loans, delay accounts payables, furlough thousands of staff and postpone much-needed capital projects in order to survive financially. It is absolutely critical that we continue to support our hospitals at the federal level, especially those in New York who have been disproportionally affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. I will continue to lead this federal effort to bring much needed relief to our hospitals. Read more here.

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County Public Health Resources
Clinton County: (518) 565-4840
Essex County: (518) 873-3514
Franklin County: (518) 481-1709
Fulton County: (518) 736-5720
Hamilton County: (518) 648-6497
Herkimer County: (315) 867-1176
Jefferson County: (315) 785-3000
Lewis County: (315) 376-5453
Saratoga County: (518) 584-7460
St. Lawrence County: (315) 386-2325
Warren County: (518) 761-6580
Washington County: (518) 746-2461

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Cosponsoring the Local Chamber, Tourism, and 501(C)(6) Protection Act

I am cosponsoring the Local Chamber, Tourism, and 501(c)(6) Protection Act, bipartisan legislation to expand the Paycheck Protection Program to include local chambers, tourism marketing organizations, and other 501(c)(6)s that are supporting our North Country communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. While these organizations are experiencing financial distress, they are currently ineligible for the PPP. This bill would expand eligibility for 501(c)(6)s with 300 or fewer employees. Additionally, it would clarify that the compensation of any employee at a covered organization who is a registered federal lobbyist is not eligible for PPP coverage. North Country Chambers of Commerce and local tourism agencies are working diligently to provide information and resources to our communities during the COVID-19 crisis. These organizations are not immune to the financial challenges that businesses and hardworking families are facing across our district during this unprecedented and stressful time. This bipartisan legislation will provide them with PPP eligibility, so they can continue to serve our communities both during this crisis and after we beat COVID-19. Read more here.

Protect Yourself from Scams

Congress recently passed the CARES Act for COVID-19 relief to help individuals and businesses. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have raised concerns about scammers and fraudsters that impersonate federal employees and ask you to verify personal account information in order to receive a payment. Here are some helpful security facts:

  • The U.S. Government will not contact you about these payments - period. 
  • The U.S. Government will not ask you to verify payment information of any kind.
  • The U.S. Government will not ask you to pay any fee or charge to receive payment.
  • The U.S. Government will not offer to expedite your payment for a fee.

To protect your personal information:

  • Hang up if you receive a telephone call from someone who claims to be from a government agency asking for verification of personal information.
  • Ignore or delete it if you get a pop-up message, email or text that directs you to call a certain number or visit a website to verify personal information.
  • Never reply to a phone number or use a website that is part of a suspicious call, pop-up or text message to verify personal information.
  • Phishing emails are near-replica websites of a trusted or well-known institution such as your financial institution or a government agency. When in doubt, you should initiate contact through a known telephone number or website

Be diligent and ask yourself: Why would your financial institution or the government need to contact you for personal information to make or receive a payment—they already have it! Please do not hesitate to reach out to any one of my offices if you have questions or concerns.

In Case You Missed It - Weekly Media Round-up

Adirondack Daily Enterprise: Stefanik cosponsors act to aid chambers of commerce

Adirondack Daily Enterprise: Local hospitals get more federal aid

myChamplainValley.com: North Country leaders say testing will be key in reopening

Post Star: Lawmakers continue push for broadband in North Country

WNYT: Stefanik named to task force aiming to hold China responsible for coronavirus spread

Adirondack Daily Enterprise: Stefanik named to McCarthy’s China Task Force | News, Sports, Jobs

Press Republican: Elected officials give feedback during Stefanik work group sessions

Watertown Daily Times: Stefanik named to task force looking into China’s role in COVID-19 outbreak

Spectrum News: Funding For North Country Hospitals Secured

Spectrum News: Federal Funding Sought For Mental Health Care

THANK YOU

On behalf of our entire district, I want to thank the incredible leadership, courage, and resilience of so many at this difficult, unprecedented time as we work together to combat and beat COVID-19. 

From our doctors, nurses, physician assistants, healthcare providers, hospital personnel, EMS, and first reponders who are on the front lines of our public healthy needs, to our truck drivers, manufacturers, grocers, workers, and farmers who are keeping our shelves stocked, to our county personnel and local elected officials who are working daily to ensure we have the capacity to meet the public’s needs to the best of our ability, to our teachers, caregivers, volunteers, and parents who are meeting the challenge, to our local media informing the public, our entire community is grateful for your tremendous service. 

As a community working together, we will overcome this. My office is here to serve each and every constituent. No issue is too small and we will continue to work around the clock to serve the families and small businesses of our district.

As always, thank you for subscribing to my weekly updates!