Tuesday, July 7, 2020 5:05 PM EST
By PATTY NIEBERG, AP
DENVER (AP) — Over a dozen rural Colorado hospitals and primary care facilities applied for federal Paycheck Protection Program loans designed to keep staff employed during the coronavirus pandemic. The loan approvals came as rural hospitals across the country struggle with dwindling income, higher costs and staff retention exacerbated by the pandemic. By the June 30 deadline, about $130 billion was unclaimed so Congress extended the program to Aug. 8. At the start of the pandemic, rural hospitals focused on maintaining appropriate supply, staff and space, but as the crisis worsened, providers saw more expenses and less revenue from non-emergency and elective procedures which were suspended by an executive order from the governor.