Massachusetts, in the vanguard of healthcare reform, is at it again.
Healthcare policy wonks are trying to gauge the effects of the sweeping 349-page healthcare reform bill that Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (D) signed into law on Monday. It already appears that rural healthcare providers stand to benefit specifically in at least a couple of areas.
One provision requires the any state-run public healthcare programs including Medicaid to pay critical access hospitals in Massachusetts 101% of reasonable costs, thus matching the Medicare reimbursement under the federal critical access hospital criteria.
"It recognizes the importance of critical access hospitals and reimburses them at a rate that allows them to stay in business," says State Rep. Smitty Pignatelli, (D-Lenox) the sponsor of the provision. His western Massachusetts district includes Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington, one of three critical-access hospital in the state.