Rural America is a special place and rural hospitals are vital to the well being of more than 60 million people. In most rural towns with a hospital the hospital is one of the largest employers and is an economic engine for the area. The future of many rural hospitals is uncertain due health care reform proposals and uncertainty about Medicaid expansion. Fortunately a couple Senators have taken it upon themselves to look out for the well being of rural hospitals that look out for the well being of their communities.
GVMH is a rural hospital and like other rural hospitals our primary mission is to meet the health care needs of our community. Rural hospitals face unique challenges and they are often overlooked in discussions about health care reform due to their size and scope.
Sens. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) last week introduced a resolution calling access to rural hospitals and other health care providers “essential to the survival and success of communities.” More than 60 million people “rely on rural hospitals and other providers as critical access points to health care,” the resolution notes. In addition to providing “vital care” to patients, rural providers “are integral to the local economies and are one of the largest types of employers in rural areas of the United States,” the measure states. In a letter of support for the resolution, AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack said, “Because of their small size, modest assets and financial reserves, and higher percentages of Medicare patients, rural hospitals disproportionately rely on government payments and unfortunately, Medicare payment systems often fail to recognize the unique circumstances of small, rural hospitals. AHA has and will continue to advocate for appropriate payment on behalf of small and rural hospitals and critical access hospitals.”