U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) spoke at Rockcastle Regional Hospital and Respiratory Care Center on Monday, July 13, 2020 to a socially-distanced group of hospital leadership and local officials regarding the impact of the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act on local healthcare.
Rockcastle Regional president and CEO Stephen A. Estes welcomed the group and spoke about the direct impact the financial aid package had on this facility. "In an environment where we spent millions of dollars in COVID-19 related expenses, in addition to having millions of dollars in foregone revenue, the aid provided by the CARES Act is money well-spent that we were able to utilize for the safety and security of our residents, patients, and staff," Estes said.
Estes spoke of the effectiveness the staff at Rockcastle Regional has had in the prevention of COVID-19. "I am proud to say that we have not had one facility-acquired incidence of COVID-19 in our ventilator-dependent population. That is evidence of how much our physicians and our staff value the lives of our residents."
"Every single resident in our facility is dependent upon mechanical ventilation to breathe, which means they come with various comorbidities and disease processes; and wev'e been able to keep those folks safe. Largely, that's how we have spent the funding received through the CARES Act, is looking to keep the virus out of our ventilator facility and our acute care hospital."
Rockcastle Regional board chairman Chief Justice Joseph E. Lambert introduced the Senator by thanking him for his friendship to the organization over the years. "Throughout my tenure on the board of directors, various opportunities have presented themselves for which we needed the assistance of highly-placed people in the U.S. Congress. We have always felt free to call on Senator McConnell to request his help, and he has always come through for us."
Senator McConnell addressed the group by thanking the frontline healthcare workers by likening them to the first responders who ran into the burning building after the 911 attacks. "We didn't really know what to do about the coronavirus. We never had it before. These very people who were dealing with patients around the country were, at least in the very beginning, very concerned about not just their own health, but of those they were reaching out to help. These are courageous people doing wonderful things on a daily basis."
McConnell continued by discussing the bipartisan work that went into constructing the CARES Act, the level of support received by Kentucky hospitals and other healthcare facilities in the state, and offered some insight on what any future stimulus packages might inclulde.
"If you're looking for a theme of what we intent to do is think of kids in school, we cannot have a normal country unless kids are in school; continued emphasis on jobs, meaning unemployment insurance for those who are unable to get back to work or additional assistance to create more jobs; and healthcare," said McConnell.