Rural hospitals at risk – again

Hospitals and health care providers are back on the chopping block as Congress is working to find ways to avoid the sequester that is set to take place later in the week. The AHA has a terrific new animated video that explains it all in clear terms that should be useful to hospital employees and other stakeholders in the community to help better understand what’s at stake.

After watching the video I hope you’ll take a minute to have your voice heard – you can use this link to Let Congress Know: Protect Patient Care

Rural hospitals like GVMH are at risk because of potential elimination of Medicare Dependent Hospital status and Sole Community Hospital status.

Because of their small size, modest assets and financial reserves, and higher percentages of Medicare patients, rural hospitals disproportionately rely on government payments.

Medicare payment systems often fail to recognize the unique circumstances of small, rural hospitals. Many rural hospitals are too large to qualify for critical access hospital (CAH) status, but too small to absorb the financial risk associated with prospective payment system (PPS) programs. With deficit reduction as a key goal in Washington, rural health care providers continue to be in jeopardy.

We have someone on our side, The American Hospital Association (AHA), but they can’t do it alone.  The AHA is focused on ensuring all hospitals have the resources they need to provide high-quality care and meet the needs of their communities. That means:

• Advocating for appropriate Medicare payments;

• Working to extend expiring Medicare provisions;

• Improving federal programs to account for special circumstances in rural communities; and

• Seeking adequate funding for annually appropriated rural health programs.

In addition, existing special rural payment programs – sole community hospital (SCH), Medicare-dependent hospital (MDH), and rural referral center (RRC) programs – need to be reauthorized, updated and/or protected.

About Craig Thompson

I am a young professional with two great sons, and I work in the healthcare setting. I am employed in hospital administration and serve as Chief Operating Officer at Golden Valley Memorial Healthcare in Clinton, Missouri. These are challenging and exciting times in healthcare and my blog will focus on healthcare, raising boys or being raised by boys, and living in mid America.
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