NRHA Strongly Supports Legislation to Help Mitigate the Rural Hospital Closure Crisis

On Wednesday, critical bipartisan and bicameral legislation was introduced in Congress to combat the rural hospital closure crisis. Representatives Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), David Loebsack (D-IA), and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) and Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and James Lankford (R-OK) introduced the Rural Hospital Closure Relief Act of 2019 (H.R. 5481; S. 3103) to protect vulnerable rural facilities at risk of closure. This legislation allows a limited number of struggling rural PPS hospitals to convert to Critical Access Hospitals (CAH). NRHA strongly supports this much-needed relief to qualifying rural PPS hospitals, a majority of which are operating at a financial loss. This bill will enable those facilities to keep essential health services in their rural communities, and allow rural patients continued access to local emergency rooms. This critical legislation is a lifeline to struggling rural providers and the communities that rely on them. This common-sense approach utilizes a tested and proven rural payment system, the CAH payment system, and will stabilize vulnerable rural hospitals until a new rural Medicare payment model can be developed as a longer-term solution to the closure crisis. NRHA CEO Alan Morgan applauds the legislation, which will, “Keep many hospital doors open and enable communities to keep essential health services in their rural communities.” 

Associated press release: