Sewell introduces bill supporting rural hospitals, access for seniors

Critical Access Hospitals are small, remote facilities that provide 24-hour essential medical...
Critical Access Hospitals are small, remote facilities that provide 24-hour essential medical services to patients in rural communities.(Source: WTVA)(WTOK)
Published: Feb. 11, 2022 at 11:37 AM CST
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WASHINGTON (WTOK) - Alabama Cong. Terri Sewell joined Cong. Adrian Smith of Nebraska in introducing the Critical Access Hospital Relief Act of 2022 this week on Capitol Hill. This bipartisan bill would provide urgently needed support to Critical Access Hospitals, which provide essential services to residents in rural communities by doing away with a burdensome and outdated payment rule that jeopardizes reimbursement.

Sewell noted that rural hospitals have been on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19, providing lifesaving care to our most vulnerable and underserved communities.

Critical Access Hospitals are small, remote facilities that provide 24-hour essential medical services to patients in rural communities, but face challenges recruiting physicians, satisfying complicated administrative requirements with a smaller staff, and complying with numerous federal regulations not applied to larger hospitals.

Under current law, Critical Access Hospitals are required to certify at the time of admission that a patient on Medicare will not be admitted longer than 96 hours. Failure to certify could result in denial of reimbursement by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), forcing patients to travel even further for care. Sewell’s bill would repeal the 96-hour rule.

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