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Designation change could cut critical access hospital funds

The Wichita Eagle, February 24, 2014

In rural areas, small town hospitals can be a lifeline. But leaders at rural hospitals across the state are concerned about a report released by the Department of Health and Human Services last fall that suggests the federal government re-evaluate how those hospitals are designated for purposes of Medicare reimbursements. "I don't think there's any question that it would send some of those hospitals over the edge," said Tom Bell, president and CEO of the Topeka-based Kansas Hospital Association. A change in designations could affect how much the 1,300 critical access hospitals nationwide receive in reimbursements – part of the federal government's effort to contain the growth of Medicare.