BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The Senate on Tuesday approved approximately $484 billion in new COVID-19 relief aid for small businesses, hospitals and community health centers across the nation.
The aid package is expected to provide financial relief to Clinica Sierra Vista which serves more than 200,000 patients between Kern and Fresno Counties.
The package directs $75 billion to hospitals for reinstatement and provider expenses and $25 billion to a new coronavirus testing program, along with $825 million for community heath centers. The House is expected to approve the measure Thursday.
Clinica Sierra Vista visits are down nearly 60% due to prioritizing urgent patient needs and encouraging non-urgent patients to delay appointments. In addition to that, all Clinica dental practices have been closed except for emergency visits.
"We thank our elected leaders for recognizing the vital role community health centers play in keeping thousands of people healthy," said Brian Harris, CEO for Clinica Sierra Vista. "We continue to offer care and COVID-19 testing to patients regardless of their ability to pay. It's reassuring to know our organization's financial stability is being considered at the highest levels of government as we continue to offer care in the face of revenue hardships."
Clinica Sierra Vista continues to test for COVID-19 in the the central valley, as of April 21 they have tested more than 1,000 people between Kern and Fresno counties.