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Physician firm part-owned by Sam Page got millions in COVID relief funding

The distribution to Western Anesthesiology Associates Inc. was among the biggest in the region, according to new data
Credit: SLBJ

ST. LOUIS — A physician group practice part-owned by St. Louis County Executive Sam Page received $5.4 million from the Paycheck Protection Program, which provided loans to help businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The disclosure came last week, when the U.S. Small Business Administration released detailed funding information about borrowers approved for loans from the $659 billion program. It previously disclosed only loan ranges.

The distribution to Western Anesthesiology Associates Inc. was among the biggest in the region, according to the new data, ranking it No. 44 out of 44,221 approved loans. The maximum distribution was $10 million per firm.

Western was also one of 706 local firms tied to doctors that were approved for loans, making medicine one of the biggest beneficiaries of the program. Those companies were approved for $94 million out of the $5 billion in loans approved in the St. Louis region.

For the three months ended March 31, Page, an anesthesiologist, reported being a partner in Western and receiving more than $1,000 in pay from it, according to state records.

Dr. Donald Arnold, Western's president, said that without the PPP funds "it's hard for me to understand how we could have navigated the change in the health care landscape earlier this year."

Health systems canceled elective procedures in the spring, and Mercy and other providers have taken that step again for some of the procedures. Thanks to the federal program, Western was able to retain employment and benefits for nearly 300 clinical and administrative workers, Arnold said.

A Page spokesman didn't answer questions about the official's relationship with Western, including details about income. Page, who last month won an election to serve the remainder of his predecessor's four-year term, remains a polarizing figure, especially among business owners after enacting new restrictions on businesses amid an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospital capacity issues.

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