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Permanent LVH and MDH legislation introduced

The National Rural Health Association applauds the introduction of the bipartisan Rural Hospital Access Act (H.R. 663) introduced by Reps. Tom Reed and Peter Welch and its companion Senate bill S.332 introduced by Sens. Grassley and Schumer. The bill will make permanent two crucial rural hospital payments, the Medicare-dependent hospital program and low-volume hospital adjustment. These two programs are essential for many small rural providers operating on razor-thin margins and are an important part of ensuring rural facilities can remain open and able to see the many Medicaid and Medicare patients they serve. These programs were created to ensure rural hospitals can continue to provide much needed services in their community. Since rural residents are more likely to be older, poorer and sicker than their urban counterparts, these programs were created to ensure Medicare payments better reflect the actual costs of providing care in rural areas. Currently, NRHA along with rural hospitals and other advocates must appeal annually to Congress to ensure the programs continue each year. These important bills will provide hospitals, and the communities they serve, the ability to better plan for the future by making these important programs permanent.

NRHA encourages members of Congress to cosponsor these important bills and encourages Congress to act quickly to make these important programs permanent.Keith Mueller, Carolyn Sheridan and Ed Friedmann, NRHA members from Iowa, presented Sen. Chuck Grassley with the National Rural Health Association's 2015 Legislative Award on Feb. 5 for his outstanding efforts on behalf of rural patients and providers.

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