DOTmed Home MRI Oncology Ultrasound Molecular Imaging X-Ray Cardiology Health IT Business Affairs
News Home Parts & Service Operating Room CT Women's Health Proton Therapy Endoscopy HTMs Mobile Imaging
Current Location:
> This Story

Log in or Register to rate this News Story
Forward Printable StoryPrint Comment




More Industry Headlines

ContextVision unveils AI-powered image enhancement for radiography Altumira aims to remove inconsistencies from DR image reading

AMA survey: Radiologists top users of telemedicine for patient interactions First nationally representative estimates on usage

Sectra showcases work-in-progress, AI functionality at RSNA Gives radiologist greater control over findings

PortaVision unveils new rad and fluoro X-ray systems at RSNA Overcome limitations of C-arm technology

Emory University opens first proton therapy center in Georgia 28th PT center in the U.S.

Scalable AI utilization insights from Montefiore at RSNA Starting with patients at risk for respiratory failure

New VR app may ease MR anxiety Hope to cut down on the need to sedate patients

NYU releases biggest ever MR data set in AI Facebook collaboration With fastMRI, acceleration of imaging by factor of four 'already possible'

Ramsoft partners with QliqSOFT Enables secure messaging of information on mobiles among doctors and patients

Hitachi unveils new CT scanner, Scenaria View 128, at RSNA Provides better workflow with SynergyDrive and large, 80 cm aperture

Government policy creates “medical deserts” as 51 rural hospitals close in ten years

by John W. Mitchell , Senior Correspondent
The American Hospital Association put four of its members who manage rural hospitals before a Congressional Senate Appropriations subcommittee last week in the interest of reducing burdensome regulations and advocating special reimbursement policies for rural Medicare patients.

Tom Wolters — who was one of four witnesses to testify from rural hospitals in Kansas, Missouri, Mississippi, and Washington state — manages reimbursement for two rural Missouri hospitals and cited several factors detrimental to rural hospital viability.

Story Continues Below Advertisement

Questions to ask and things to consider about MRI coil repair processes

What to Expect from MRI Coil Repairs that Meet Clinical Expectations and Drive ROI. Click for A Guideline of Standards to Expect and Demand for Sustainable MRI Coil Repairs

“Rural hospitals do face many challenges. The four challenges I would like to highlight regarding rural hospitals are patient volumes, Medicare utilization, the cumulative impact of Medicare reimbursement cuts and the increasingly complex regulatory environment in which we operate,” Wolters told the subcommittee.

He noted that rural hospitals have significantly higher Medicare utilization than urban hospitals – 42.5 percent compared to 30 percent. Those patients are elderly, with more comorbid conditions requiring longer hospital stays and more costly resources such as intensive care and imaging, said Wolters.

He noted that Medicare does not reimburse as well as commercial insurance — which is more prevalent in urban hospitals — and also said gathering the data and paperwork necessary for proper reimbursement is a time-consuming task big enough to keep vital members of the workforce occupied when their time could be better utilized helping with patients.

According to the National Rural Health Association (NRHA), rural facilities contend with a number of unique challenges when compared to urban facilities. Among them are: A shortage of doctors and dentists; lower household income; higher motor vehicle death and suicide rates; higher rates of improperly managed and treated hypertension and heart attack; and higher alcohol and tobacco abuse among teenagers.

Maggie Elehwany, vice president of Government Affairs and Policy for NRHA, noted that 51 rural hospitals have closed since January 2010 because of several reductions in Medicare reimbursement. She said that while the NRHA supports the goal of expanded health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the cuts in Medicare under the ACA - as well as states not opting to expand Medicaid permitted under the 2012 Supreme Court decision - contribute to the financial stress.

“We worked with Tim and the other members, as well as Senate members to tell our story at the hearing. Forty percent of rural hospitals are operating at a loss,” Elehwany told DOTmed News. “Current policy is creating medical deserts in rural areas across America.”

In his comments, Wolters cited three programs that Congress has renewed or extended to stabilize rural hospital funding. These include: The just recently passed Medicare Access and CHIP Act of 2015 to eliminate the ongoing annual threat of Medicare payment reductions to doctors; the 30-month extension of the Medicare low-volume and dependent hospitals payment programs; and a six-month delay preventing post-payment review under the 2-midnight program which governs patients' observation status.

Wolters also said rural hospitals need additional grant funding to meet the transition deadlines for ICD-10 coding and the 340B drug discount program. “For rural hospitals to continue to survive, we need Congress to continue to support these rural reimbursement programs, in fact, make them permanent. Likewise rural hospitals should be exempt from sequestration and any future cuts to Medicare programs,” Wolters testified.


You Must Be Logged In To Post A Comment

Increase Your
Brand Awareness
Auctions + Private Sales
Get The
Best Price
Buy Equipment/Parts
Find The
Lowest Price
Daily News
Read The
Latest News
Browse All
DOTmed Users
Ethics on DOTmed
View Our
Ethics Program
Gold Parts Vendor Program
Receive PH
Gold Service Dealer Program
Receive RFP/PS
Healthcare Providers
See all
HCP Tools
A Job
Parts Hunter +EasyPay
Get Parts
Recently Certified
View Recently
Certified Users
Recently Rated
View Recently
Certified Users
Rental Central
Rent Equipment
For Less
Sell Equipment/Parts
Get The
Most Money
Service Technicians Forum
Find Help
And Advice
Simple RFP
Get Equipment
Virtual Trade Show
Find Service
For Equipment
Access and use of this site is subject to the terms and conditions of our LEGAL NOTICE & PRIVACY NOTICE
Property of and Proprietary to, Inc. Copyright ©2001-2018, Inc.