Critical-access hospitals' ongoing financial woes are being compounded by Medicare cuts imposed by sequestration and the failure of most rural states to expand Medicaid, and there's little prospect of legislative or regulatory relief in sight.
Despite the outcry on Capitol Hill over rural hospital closings, the number of critical-access hospitals in the U.S. grew slightly in the past year, according to Modern Healthcare magazine's annual review of CMS data.
Regarding the recent article, “Readmissions may say more about patients than care”, I was the medical director at a hospital in Gary, Ind., brought in to turn around the emergency department, so I have seen underserved areas up close.
A federal judge has blocked an Alabama abortion regulation that could have permanently closed the state's busiest abortion clinic, saying Thursday that the rule was unnecessary to protect women.
The 96-hour rule and a possible direct-supervision policy are a danger to critical-access hospitals, rural health leaders said at a congressional hearing Tuesday. They also suggested graduate medical education slots be more fairly allocated to help rural areas recruit providers.
A total of 50 hospitals in the rural U.S. have closed since 2010, and the pace has been accelerating, with more closures in the past two years than in the previous 10 years combined, according to the National Rural Health Association.