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WI rural hospitals could lose special Medicare payments

Wisconsin State Journal, August 26, 2013

The hospital in Boscobel lost $2.7 million from 2009 to 2011. The hospitals in Prairie du Chien, Viroqua and Waupun made $8 million to $14.5 million those years, with operating margins above the national average. All of those hospitals are among 42 rural hospitals in Wisconsin that could lose special Medicare payments under a proposal this month by a federal fiscal watchdog agency. A more limited proposal by the Obama administration would affect eight of the state's 58 designated rural hospitals. The broader proposal, by the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General, would strip special payment status from two-thirds of the nation's 1,328 critical access hospitals — those not considered to be in remote areas, including the 42 hospitals in Wisconsin.