More than a week after Santa Cruz Valley Regional Hospital told Gov. Ducey that it likely will close without financial aid through the coronavirus crisis, hospital officials have heard nothing.
They also have heard nothing from federal agencies offering relief for businesses since applying about two weeks ago.
The March 30 letter from CEO Kelly Adams was included in his request to reconsider the hospital’s proposal to become a designated “COVID-19 treatment resource.” He wrote that not getting aid “will result in the closure of this facility in the coming weeks.”
Adams said that they have not heard anything from the governor’s office but that he spoke to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema on Tuesday.
Patrick Ptak, communications director for the Governor’s Office, said they have explored several options, including advancing critical-access payments that twice yearly go to rural hospitals that serve Medicaid patients. Santa Cruz serves a low percentage of those cases so the payments are not significant.
Ptak said $50 million in advance payments to hospitals “is in play” but not approved, and that they are working with federal agencies to get that to $270 million.
He also said a one-time payment, not loan, out of the general fund “was discussed.” The state made a $1.5 million payment to a hospital in Benson in the past to shore up its emergency department and other services, Ptak said.
The hospital is among many nationwide that have had to spend money to ramp up for coronavirus while doing away with lucrative elective surgeries. Hospitals nationwide have also seen a drop in cases in Emergency Rooms.
Adams said a planned visit by the Army Corps of Engineers on Friday didn’t materialize and they are waiting to hear on a follow-up.
On Tuesday, Supervisor Steve Christy, who represents Green Valley and part of Sahuarita, sent a letter to Ducey asking the state to explore using federal Medicare or Medicaid dollars to assist the hospital.
Sen. Martha McSally’s communications team did not return a call seeking comment on her role.