Critical Access Hospitals

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Kristen Fischer, DOTmed News | July 28, 2011
From the July 2011 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Whether it’s finding money to purchase medical equipment or health information systems, critical access hospitals adopt traditional business practices and nonconventional ideas to ensure that they can function. Challenges are ongoing, but savvy executives will continue to rise up to meet the needs of hospitals in rural areas.

In April, Reps. Sam Graves (R-MO) and Ron Kind (D- WI) introduced the Rural Hospital Protection Act, a bill that would ensure critical access hospitals continue to be reimbursed for provider taxes they pay to states.

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Currently, critical access hospitals can include provider taxes in their Medicare cost reports as long as they relate to expenses incurred to provide patient care. But a clarification in the 2011 final Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System rule wants Medicare contractors to determine on a case-by-case basis whether the provider taxes are allowable.
Although the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says this clarification is part of a longstanding rule, many organizations including the American Hospital Association are backing the legislation because they say that reimbursements for provider taxes should always be allowed and the policy jeopardizes the financial sustainability of critical access hospitals.

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