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Harkin: Iowa Hospitals to See Health-Reform Driven Medicare Reimbursement in October

July 30, 2010

Harkin: Iowa Hospitals to See Health-Reform Driven Medicare Reimbursement in October

New rules released today by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will offer Iowa seniors greater access to care

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Mid-sized Iowa hospitals will see a greater Medicare reimbursement this October, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) announced today.  The two-year fix will cover Fiscal Years 2011 and 2012 and will aid low-volume hospitals, some of which have struggled to keep their doors open.  The fix was included in the new health reform law – the Affordable Care Act – a final rule on which was released this afternoon by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Harkin is Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, one of the two Senate committees that crafted the health reform law.

“This is great news for our low-volume hospitals and further proof that health reform continues to deliver for states like Iowa,” Harkin said.  “At the heart of the reform mission was an effort to decrease the number of uninsured and increase access to affordable care.  The law does just that and will ensure every Iowan access to quality healthcare, which these community hospitals provide.  No hospital should be penalized simply because of its size and location and I am encouraged that our reform law fixed that concern for Iowa’s mid-sized hospitals.”

Under the current Medicare structure, payment rates for hospitals do not account for the fact that most rural facilities cannot achieve the same economies of scale as large hospitals.  These “tweener” hospitals face inadequate reimbursement, which threatens the care many seniors can receive in their area.

Iowa’s rural hospitals that will benefit from this adjustment include: St. Anthony Regional Hospital in Carroll, Fort Madison Community Hospital, Grinnell Regional Medical Center, Keokuk Area Hospital, Unity HealthCare in Muscatine, Skiff Medical Center in Newton, Spencer Hospital and Lakes Regional Healthcare in Spirit Lake.

For more information on the new rule, please click here:
http://www.cms.gov/default.asp.