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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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