Rural Hospitals Prep for 'March' on Washington

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , July 25, 2012

Representatives for rural hospitals from states across the nation will head to Washington, D.C. next week to lobby for renewed funding for low-volume adjustment and Medicare-dependent hospitals.

The provisions are set to expire at the end of the federal fiscal year on October 1 and the National Rural Health Association says that could jeopardize the solvency of hundreds of hospitals that are often a critical source of healthcare in their rural communities.

About 212 hospitals across the nation have MDH status, which requires that they be in a rural area, have no more than 100 beds, and show that Medicare patients represent at least 60% of their inpatient days or discharges. A study done for NRHA found that in 2009 MDHs operated at a negative 4% margin on average.

Without hospital-specific and transitional outpatient payments the study estimated that those MDH margins would have fallen to negative 12.6%.

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