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Support bill to protect rural hospitals

By Katherine Hall, NRHA intern A markup will be held July 7 to consider the Continuing Access to Hospitals Act (HR 5613) sponsored by rural champions Reps. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) and Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa). This bill will provide relief to rural critical access hospitals by temporarily delaying the enforcement of the physician supervision requirement for outpatient therapy services through 2016. NRHA supports this bipartisan legislation. Seventy-five rural hospitals have closed since 2010, according to the Sheps Center for Health Services Research at the University of North Carolina. At this rate, one-quarter of all hospitals will close in less than a decade. Cuts in Medicare have led to negative Medicare margins according to the MedPAC report released in March. Additionally, burdensome regulations increase the cost of running these rural hospitals that provide essential medical care to rural residents. Imposing regulations such as the physician supervision requirement impacts these small rural hospitals the most since they are usually short staffed and have the lowest profit margins. Contact your member of Congress today, and let them know just how important this bill is for health care in rural America. And watch the live hearing at 2 p.m. EST July 7.

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