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Regulatory Relief and New Payment Models Needed to Support Rural Hospitals

Since 2010, 95 rural hospitals have closed due to financial distress and changing healthcare dynamics.  A General Accountability Office report  found 64 hospitals closed between 2013 and 2017, more than twice the number in the previous five years.

For many rural hospitals, the choice boils down to reducing services to make ends meet or closing their doors completely, leaving residents without a local option for their medical needs.

To help rural hospitals survive and thrive, federal policies must be updated and new investments injected into struggling rural communities, according to the report. It points to the following policy priorities:

  • Adequate reimbursement that updates Medicare and Medicaid rates to cover the cost of care.
  • New value-based payment models that increase financial predictability.
  • Regulatory relief from requirements that don’t enhance patient care.
  • Wider access to telehealth, coupled with actions that reduce the burden of health IT costs and compliance requirements on rural hospitals.
  • Workforce programs to address provider shortages.
  • Unsustainably high prescription drug costs and attacks on the 340B program.

Learn more at Healthcare Dive



Contact Alexis Hertel at

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