fah hospital policy blog

Perspectives on health policy affecting America’s hospitals and the patients we serve.

Category Archives: rural

ICYMI: Arizona Governor Op-Ed Urges Congress to Protect Rural Care in any ACA Repeal by Restoring Hospital Medicare Cuts

January 23, 2017 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Affordable Care Act, Financing, Health Care Delivery, Legislation, Rural

Republican Arizona Governor Doug Ducey recently penned an op-ed that appeared in The Daily Courier in Prescott and the Camp Verde Bugle entitled - Rural health care a critical component of reform.

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A Unique & Critical Role for Medicare Policy in Rural Communities

July 28, 2015 | FAH Hospital Policy Blog Team

Category: Medicare, Rural

This morning, the House Ways and Means Committee Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing on the health care disparities created by Medicare in rural communities.This year, America’s hospitals celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Medicare and Medicaid programs. These two programs have had a significant impact on access to quality medical care, especially to the more than 60 million Americans who live in rural regions across the country. A disproportionate number of rural patients rely on Medicare or Medicaid and many, known as dual eligible patients, rely on both programs to meet their health care needs.

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FAH Praises Reintroduction of “Rural Hospital Access Act of 2015”

February 03, 2015 | FAH Hospital Policy Blog Team

Category: Legislation, Rural

Yesterday, Congressmen Tom Reed (R-NY) and Peter Welch (D-VT) and Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) reintroduced the “Rural Hospital Access Act of 2015,” H.R.663 and S.332 respectively, permanent extensions to two expiring supplemental Medicare funding programs that enable rural hospitals to provide vital health care services to millions of people in rural communities.

These two programs are the Medicare Dependent Hospital (MDH) program and the Low-Volume Hospital Adjustment (LVH) program:

The MDH program protects rural hospitals with a disproportionate Medicare caseload of greater than 60% and which have little other revenue recourse to defray any budgetary shortfall.

The LVH program recognizes that certain hospitals are more isolated than others. It provides a sliding scale payment adjustment to help these hospitals, which simply do not have the volume to achieve savings from economies of scale.

Funding for both programs is set to expire after March 31, 2015. A permanent extension of both programs is imperative for rural hospitals to continue to provide care to the more than 60 million patients that depend upon them for their health care.

Rural hospitals provide a stable and steady place of care for millions of residents in isolated areas. 20% of the population lives in rural communities, but they are spread over 95% of the country geographically. Rural hospitals are often the largest employer in a community, and serve as drivers of the local economy. Without local community hospitals in rural areas, patients would have to travel a great distance to receive care and local economies would be impacted by the loss of jobs, innovation and stability. When these hospitals close, the effect radiates.

FAH applauds Congressmen Tom Reed (R-NY) and Peter Welch (D-VT) and Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Chuck Schumer (R-NY) for their leadership and their efforts to protect rural hospitals and the critical care they provide for communities across the nation. We urge lawmakers to prioritize the health care needs of countless rural residents the Rural Hospital Access Act of 2015 would help as they consider the looming deadline of these important programs. It is time for Congress to make a permanent commitment to rural communities.

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Rural Hospitals: Providing Vital Access to Care for Disparate Populations

November 25, 2014 | FAH Hospital Policy Blog Team

Category: Health Care Delivery, Legislation, Rural

Approximately 60 million Americans live in rural regions – which represent 20% of the US population. Each of these Americans counts on their local hospital for care, with one hospital often serving large regions. As such, rural hospitals nationwide face unique and continuous challenges to provide 24/7 access to care for every patient. This lame duck session, we ask lawmakers to protect patients in rural communities.

In many rural areas nationwide, hospitals are the center for health care services, often several communities. These hospitals are the lifeline for access to care. Unfortunately, budget cuts make the threat of closure a real possibility for rural hospitals.

If a hospital closes, it is the patients and communities who suffer most. Patients are forced to travel great distances to the next available hospital, which can be the difference between life and death with emergency and critical care needs requiring immediate attention. Rural hospitals are also a driver of the local economy, creating many jobs for the community, making them an economic lifeline as well.

We hope policymakers will join FAH in our support for ensuring access to essential care in rural communities. Policymakers must remember: when rural hospitals close or service lines disappear, patients and communities are the ones who lose.

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