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NRHA optimistic about Medicare funding, thanks to grassroots effort

Members encouraged to continue advocacy during congressional break Supplemental payments for Medicare-dependent hospitals will expire Oct. 1, but NRHA’s Maggie Elehwany told HealthLeaders Media she’s hopeful Congress will pass the bill to renew funding for Medicare-dependent and low-volume hospitals for another year. NRHA led the March for Rural Hospitals in July on Capitol Hill, which helped garner bipartisan support for the legislation. The grassroots effort continued, but Congress didn’t pass the provision before the six-week break. “Once we give them the empirical data that shows the cost effectiveness of rural hospitals and they can provide Medicare coverage at 3.7% less than urban areas and have that primary care focus the argument makes itself,” Elehwany explained. “Even the most fiscally conservative folks – a lot of them are on the bill – see the importance of keeping that hospital open for their local communities, and it makes sense for the taxpayers as well. It’s a strong argument. We are just running out of time.” While congressional members are in their home districts, NRHA encourages rural residents to continue to fight to keep rural hospitals open. Legislators will return to D.C. in mid-November. For more information on this and other rural health advocacy efforts, click here.

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