WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) has cosponsored the bipartisan Rural Hospital Support Act introduced by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Bob Casey (D-Penn.). The legislation would prevent rural hospitals from closing by extending and modernizing critical federal programs to keep them financially stable.
The bill would permanently extend the Medicare-dependent Hospital and Low-Volume Hospital designations that are set to expire on October 1 of this year. Additionally, it would update the year that hospitals can base their operating costs from fiscal year 2012 to fiscal year 2016. Louisiana has as many as 48 small, rural hospitals that could benefit from this legislation.
“Rural Louisiana depends on our rural hospitals. The Rural Hospital Support Act would help provide reliable care and peace of mind to rural Louisianians and control costs for taxpayers,” said Kennedy.
“These programs bring a lot of value for rural residents and taxpayers. Small, rural hospitals offer good-quality health care at a cost that compares well with urban hospitals’ cost. Congress should extend the programs that help keep the doors open for rural Medicare beneficiaries,” said Grassley.
“Every American deserves reliable access to health care. Rural hospitals can be the difference between life and death in many parts of the U.S. Often, a rural hospital means not only safe, dependable access to health care and emergency health needs, but economic safety and stability for an entire community. This legislation takes an important step to maintain that lifeline, especially for older adults and lower income Americans. I will continue to work to bring federal funding to rural communities and make sure older Americans have the health care support they need no matter where they live,” said Casey.
The Rural Hospital Support Act is supported by the Louisiana Hospital Association, Beauregard Memorial Hospital (DeRidder, LA), LaSalle General Hospital (Jena, LA), Natchitoches Regional Medical Center (Natchitoches, LA), Abbeville General Hospital (Abbeville, LA), Franklin Medical Center (Winnsboro, LA), the Alliance for Rural Hospital Access, American Hospital Association and the National Rural Health Association
Text of the legislation is available here.