- The healthcare and social assistance sector received the most loans in the Paycheck Protection Program: almost 13% of the overall funds, according to new data released by the Trump administration. Of the $521 billion doled out so far, almost $67.4 billion flowed into the broad sector that includes doctors' offices and hospitals but also food banks and temporary housing groups.
- More than 22,300 doctor's offices, including mental health specialists, received loans of $150,000 or above from the program meant to help small businesses stay afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a Healthcare Dive analysis of the data found. That's almost 5% of all U.S. physician's offices.
- Roughly 2,000 general medical and surgical hospitals, 230 psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals and 290 specialty hospitals received loans, along with 4,000 outpatient care centers.
The Trump administration has received criticism for its disbursement of congressional stimulus funds to healthcare providers, with the lion's share ending up in the hands of large, wealthy health systems. However, some smaller providers like independent family practitioners say the PPP has been a godsend in allowing them to keep their doors open amid the pandemic.
"PPP totally, completely allowed us to keep our employees employed," Beverly Jordan, a physician at small rural practice Professional Medical Associates in Enterprise, Alabama, told Healthcare Dive. "Had we not gotten paycheck protection, with the decrease in patient volume we saw, we would have had to terminate employees."
Number of businesses that received PPP loans of $150k+ and percentage they make up within each business type
There's been significant backlash over the funds' distribution, with a perceived lack of oversight leading to many private equity-backed companies, food chains and publicly traded corporations receiving money.
A number of physician practices affiliated with large California system Sutter Health, for example, received PPP loans. Sutter North Medical Group in Yuba City, California, received a loan of at least $2 million, while Sutter Medical Group of the Redwoods in Santa Rosa, California, received at least $1 million.
A spokesperson for the system stressed to Healthcare Dive the medical groups are independent contractors "wholly separate" financially from Sutter. Still, it does raise questions about sizable market players gaining access to the program meant for small businesses.
For its part, Sutter has received at least $205 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act bailout funds, plus another $1 billion in loans from accelerated Medicare payments.
Another recipient, American Hospital Management, operates 32 hospitals and medical centers worldwide in places like Saudi Arabia, Libya and Mexico, but none in the U.S.
The nonprofit, which has annual revenue of almost $67 million, received a loan of at least $5 million.
The PPP, created in late March with the passage of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, created a pot of $670 billion in funds to bail out small businesses. It allows businesses with fewer than 500 employees to apply for loans up to $10 million if they certify in good faith the economic uncertainty made a loan imperative for their' survival. Small businesses that spend the money according to certain stipulations, including continuing to pay staff, can have the loans forgiven.
The Trump administration on Monday released the names of participating businesses following intense pressure from media, lawmakers and watchdog groups.
But it's just a snapshot of the total companies that received funds: The 650,000 businesses in the list revealed Monday that got more than $150,000 represent only 13% of all the entities getting funds, but took in almost three-fourths of the overall pot, according to the Small Business Administration.
Almost 87% of the loans were for less than $150,000, meaning many smaller healthcare players, like community-based practices, were likely not disclosed.
At the end of June, $519 billion had been lent and $134 billion remained as applications slowed. The original deadline to apply was June 30, but President Donald Trump signed legislation earlier this month extending the deadline until Aug. 8.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated to include a comment from Sutter Health.