From the Iowa Hospital Association Friday Mailing:
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley has introduced legislation to improve Medicare payments for Iowa’s “tweener” hospitals. Most of these hospitals are designated as Medicare Dependent Hospitals and Sole Community Hospitals under the Medicare program. The Medicare bill that just became law improves payments for Sole Community Hospitals but contained no provisions that benefit Medicare Dependent Hospitals.
Sen. Grassley’s “Rural Hospital Assistance Act of 2008″ would benefit Medicare Dependent Hospitals by not adjusting their payments for area wages unless it would result in improved payments. It would also improve the existing low-volume add-on for low-volume rural hospitals, both Medicare Dependent and Sole Community, so that more rural facilities with low volumes would receive the assistance they need.
”These hospitals are the backbone of the rural health care system, and there’s no justification for Medicare not recognizing their unique situation and vital role,” Sen. Grassley said. “I’m committed to doing everything I can to make sure they’re treated fairly and not left in a perilous situation with Medicare.”