Introducing the Save America's Rural Hospitals Act
Alex T. Olson
NRHA's voice isn't enough without your own. We can tell Congress what, but only you can tell them why.
That’s why NRHA enlisted our members to provide technical assistance to Reps. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) in developing the Save America’s Rural Hospitals Act and introducing it to the 117th Congress.
Now we need to let our representatives know how this bipartisan bill is so crucial to your community by raising the rural health safety to serve the whole of rural.
Since 2005, more than 170 rural hospitals across the country have closed their doors, creating medical deserts in sparsely populated areas in America.
This legislation includes measures to:
- permanently suspend Medicare sequestration for virtually all rural hospitals
- change bad debt responsibility from 30 to 15 percent
- permanently extend increased MDH/LVH payments
- reinstate value-based and hospital readmissions reduction program payments
- reinstate hold harmless provisions for sole-community hospitals
- make new rural and super rural ground ambulance payments permanent
- permanently extend Medicaid primary care payments for rural providers
- allow FQHCs and RHCs as distant site providers with in-person payment rates
- create a provider-based RHC quality reporting program
- equalize beneficiary copayments for services furnished by CAHs to 20 percent
- permanently repeal the 96-hour Physician Certification Requirement
- revise supervision requirements for high-risk or complex medical services
- simplify claim and recovery audit contractor practices under Medicare
- reauthorize the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program
Policies based on needs of the urban majority rarely account for rural realities, so bring your community perspective to NRHA’s virtual 33rd Rural Health Policy Institute and discuss plans to create equity in rural health with elected officials Feb. 8-10.
“It’s a very big issue in the rural areas, and that’s the reason you’re seeing so much support coming from both sides of the aisle and you’re also seeing that support in the Senate. The Senate already moved on companion legislation, so the support’s there, and it’s just something that we need to get across the finish line,” Graves says.
NRHA chief operations officer Brock Slabach says this bill would be essential to hospitals in adapting post-COVID-19. “It is desperately needed and if enacted in total would make a huge difference to providers in rural communities.”
Let's ensure relief funds provided to rural hospitals and clinics can help them continue to offer much-needed care in rural communities and keep doors from closing.