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Bill doesn’t do enough to help rural hospitals

Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D) recently introduced a bill that establishes a core set of health care quality measures for rural providers and provides grants for rural providers to participate in quality improvement and reporting programs.
The National Rural Health Association is pleased with steps working toward including rural providers in Medicare and Medicaid quality measurement and improvement programs based on the recommendations of the National Quality Forum’s Rural Health Committee of which NRHA is a member.
However, NRHA is disappointed the bill fails to address the needs of the many rural hospitals struggling with continued Medicare cuts that have resulted in negative average Medicare margins and have made one in three rural hospitals vulnerable to closure.
Without addressing the rural hospital closure crisis, we risk leaving the most vulnerable rural Americans without access to a hospital,” says Maggie Elehwany, NRHA government affairs and advocacy vice president. Hospital quality improvement programs cannot help a community that has lost their hospital.

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