Assemblywoman Russell’s bill to help rural hospitals passes Assembly

June 13, 2012

Addie J. Russell (D-Theresa) announced the Assembly’s passage of a bill she authored to allow rural hospitals designated as “critical-access hospitals” to be paid by Medicaid in the same manner that Medicare pays such hospitals, which is on the basis of reasonable costs (A.10094-A).

“This measure is an absolute necessity in order for rural hospitals in the North Country to stay afloat,” Assemblywoman Russell said. “Our friends and neighbors depend on these facilities for urgent medical care and cannot afford to see them go under.”

Cost-based Medicaid reimbursement would help ensure the long-term financial sustainability of rural hospitals. New York State Medicaid reimbursement rates are presently capped at a rate lower than the cost of operation. The problem is exacerbated for critical access hospitals by the need to spread substantial fixed costs over a smaller, yet critical number of visits.

This legislation helps rural hospitals and ensures that families in isolated areas continue to have access to vital health care services. Having Medicaid payments that cover reasonable costs will help to further ensure the financial stability of our rural hospitals, Russell noted.

“This legislation is not simply a matter of saving jobs; it is a matter of saving lives,” Assemblywoman Russell said. “This legislation ensures that families in rural communities have access to the quality, necessary medical services they deserve.”