Pineville Health Center gets funding through new Rural Hospital program

Community’s $1 million loan approval is first under program that came online in September

PINEVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ) – Rural communities across the commonwealth are looking to improve health care access for Kentucky residents, andGov. Andy Beshear announced Wednesday that Pineville Community Health Center Inc. (PCHC) is the first health care facility to be approved for support through the Kentucky Rural Hospital Loan Program (KRHLP).

“The challenges we have faced over the past year and a half have greatly emphasized the importance of supporting health care facilities throughout the state,” Gov. Beshear said. “We have all seen the significant role played by hospitals within our communities, and that is especially true in rural areas where access to medical care faces greater obstacles. I want to congratulate the leadership at the Pineville Community Health Center on this loan approval and thank them for having the foresight to quickly capitalize on this new opportunity to benefit residents in Eastern Kentucky.”

The KRHLP is making $20 million in low-interest loans available to assist rural hospitals throughout the state. PCHC was approved by the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) for a $1 million loan at 1% interest over a five-year term.

Funding will assist with operational expenses at the facility, which provides inpatient and outpatient medical care for residents and visitors in Bell County and throughout the region. In accordance with the loan agreement, PCHC must maintain at least 87 full-time employees and all project costs must be incurred by year-end 2021. Currently, PCHC employs 102 full-time staff members.

PCHC representatives said the funds will be used to help acquire medical equipment, supplies and staffing to improve medical services provided to the Pineville community and other residents of Bell County and the surrounding area.

Established during the 2020 Regular Session of the General Assembly, KRHLP began accepting applications in recent weeks to support rural hospitals across the state. Many facilities have experienced a rise in operating costs over the past 20 months in response to the pandemic.

The $20 million in available funds will help maintain or upgrade hospital facilities across the state, including staffing and services. The program will directly impact 1.8 million Kentuckians living in rural areas.

Any hospital located within a Kentucky county with a population of less than 50,000 is eligible to apply for KRHLP. To qualify for financing, a rural hospital must request funds to maintain or upgrade existing facilities, current staffing or available services.

Eligible hospitals can receive a loan amount ranging from $25,000 to $1 million per hospital facility with a 1% fixed interest rate.

Interested applicants should review the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau data and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ Kentucky hospital directory by county to confirm their status as a rural hospital within the state. The additional loan requirements and application process are now available to view on the Cabinet for Economic Development’s Kentucky business incentives webpage.

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