Outsiders Swoop In Vowing To Rescue Rural Hospitals Short On Hope — And Money

From California Healthline:

Nationwide, 83 of 2,375 rural hospitals have closed since 2010, according to the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program. These often-remote hospitals — some with 10, 15, 25 beds — have been targeted by management companies or potential buyers who promise much but often deliver little while lining their own pockets, according to allegations in court cases, a Missouri state audit and media reports.

Enticed by such outsiders, some struggling rural hospitals around the country have embraced lab billing for faraway patients as a rescue plan. That’s because Medicare and commercial insurers tend to pay more for tests to sustain endangered rural hospitals compared with urban hospitals and especially outpatient labs. In general, this kind of remote billing is controversial and legally murky, and it recently has resulted in allegations of fraud in several states, according to government documents and media reports.

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