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Several Senators question prudence of CAH cuts

At a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the President's budget currently underway, several Senators expressed concern over proposed cuts to Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs).  The President's budget proposes to alter the CAH program in two ways.  First, facilities designated by their states as "necessary providers" that are located less than ten miles from another facility would lose their status, regardless of community need, the type of facility less than ten miles from them,  or the reason the state's governor designated them as necessary providers.  Second, the budget calls for reducing reimbursement for all CAHs from 101% of "reasonable costs" to 100% of reasonable costs. At the hearing, Secretary Sebelius was questioned about this reduction by Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Thad Cochran (R-MS), and John Boozman (R-AR).  Senator Moran raised many critical questions about the current fiscal challenges at many CAHs and the effect such cuts would have on the rural health safety net.  Senator Moran quoted the National Rural Health Association in his exchange with the Secretary and called on the Administration to reconsider this recommendation. The Subcommittee will soon post a recap of the hearing and video of the testimony on their website.

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