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Community Hospitals Become Default Advisors on HIX

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, September 25, 2013

"We are working with the Open Door Clinic to provide education and assistance to uninsured residents planning to enroll in Vermont Health Connect beginning October 1," Real told HealthLeaders Media. "Navigators are trained and already providing information through libraries, famers markets, and direct outreach to farmers and farm families in Addison County."

For other providers, the rollout is proving to be more difficult.

"We don't have anyone trained as of yet, but when it comes to it community hospitals in a lot of smaller communities are the main healthcare resource. if not the only one," says Tim Putnam, CEO at Margaret Mary Community Hospital in Batesville, IN.

"There is no other resource that can do it so we have to be there for patients by default. Unfortunately we are not well versed on it yet. There are a lot of variables, and each state and each region in the state have a lot of different options available. We are going to have to get up to speed on this quickly," he says.

While all providers will benefit from serving more insured patients, it seems a little late in the game to be dropping this responsibility into the laps of small hospitals that are already struggling with a host of challenges related to lower admissions and reimbursements and a numbing number of new and complex mandates, ranging from meaningful use Stage 2 to ICD-10.

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