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Grassley, Klobuchar urge CMS to prioritize Rural Emergency Hospital designation


Rural hospitals that close inpatient beds and revamp as standalone emergency rooms may receive more funding under a proposal being advocated by Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, Bloomberg reported. Grassley authored the Rural Emergency Hospital Medicare payment measure, which was approved late last year as part of the nearly 6,000-page stimulus bill. It would provide a potential lifeline for rural hospitals by enabling them to change their status to qualify for additional funding. The two senators sent a letter this week to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services urging the agency to prioritize the new designation’s implementation. A recent Government Accountability Office report found more than 100 rural hospitals have closed in 28 different states since 2013. “If nothing is done, more hospitals and rural Americans will continue losing access to essential medical services, resulting in poorer outcomes and higher costs for patients and taxpayers,” Grassley and Klobuchar said in the letter. It’s a bipartisan crisis, as the letter reflects, and both senators represent largely rural states. Rural hospitals with fewer than 50 beds can apply for the designation, which takes effect in 2023.

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