Rural Healthcare Advocates Rip MedPAC's Claims on Access, Reimbursement

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , June 27, 2012

The event comes immediately before the August recess and Elehwany says rural health advocates should use the face time at the Capitol to invite their respective members of Congress to the hospitals in their home districts "and show them the great work they are doing, show them the patients they treat and the narrow financial margins they are working under."

Even with the gridlock made worse during an election year, Elehwany believes that rural hospitals can make a strong and bipartisan argument for self preservation. "The climate on Capitol Hill is very different this year," she says. "Every program has to be justified and we are fine with that. We feel we can do that."

And despite the feisty rhetoric Elehwany says rural healthcare providers have no desire to pick a fight with MedPAC.

"We are trying to tell Congress that this report is incomplete," she says. "The rest of the story is that rural hospitals may be doing a little better than the days when everybody was closing but if you took those Medicare payments away and took that MDH status away we are going to go back to those days. We believe the program created by Congress is doing exactly what it was intended to do, which is keep these hospital doors open."

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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