The proposal, advanced as part of a report from the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, would curb enhanced payments to as many as two-thirds of these facilities.
Modern Healthcare: OIG Proposal Threatens Enhanced Payments To Two-Thirds Of Critical-Access Hospitals
More than 800 small hospitals that dot the American countryside would lose enhanced Medicare funding for providing healthcare access in remote settings under a proposal put forward in a report today from HHS' Office of the Inspector General. Opponents say the proposal could put hundreds of hospitals out of business and roll back years of progress on access to healthcare. Critical-access hospitals, which have 25 or fewer beds, are already facing reductions in Medicare reimbursements under President Barack Obama's proposed 2014 budget (Carlson, 8/15).
Kaiser Health News: Capsules: HHS Watchdog Says Rural Hospital Program Needs A Trim
The critical access hospital program was intended to financially stabilize small, rural institutions by providing them with higher Medicare reimbursement rates. The hospitals in the program are supposed to have 25 or fewer beds and be at least 35 miles away from another facility (15 miles across mountainous terrain) in communities that would otherwise have limited access to health care services. The effort was a response to a spate of 360 rural hospital closures in the 1980s and 1990s (Gold, 8/15).