AHA-supported bill would aid small rural hospitals

Reps. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., and Terri Sewell, D-Ala., today introduced the Rural Hospital Support Act, AHA-supported legislation that would make permanent the Medicare-Dependent Hospital program and enhanced low-volume Medicare adjustment for small rural prospective payment system hospitals. 

The bill also would allow sole community hospitals and MDHs to choose an additional base year from which payments can be calculated. 

Under the MDH program, eligible hospitals that are more dependent on Medicare revenue because of the high percentage of Medicare beneficiaries in rural areas receive the sum of their PPS payment rate, plus three-quarters of the amount by which their cost per discharge exceeds the PPS rate. The enhanced low-volume adjustment helps level the playing field for hospitals in small and isolated communities, which frequently cannot achieve the economies of scale possible for their larger counterparts.

“We applaud you for your leadership in introducing the Rural Hospital Support Act, which will help keep the doors open at rural hospitals and allow them to continue serving their local communities during this time of sustained financial pressure and historic changes in care delivery,” AHA said in a letter of support for the bill.