Healthcare in the U.S. is fragile. The coronavirus pandemic proved that with an influx of patients bringing on unpredictable stress and chaos at health facilities across the board.
Even now, as the pandemic appears mostly over – regional and rural hospitals are struggling to survive.
Worst yet, some rural hospitals are at risk of losing federal funding.
Rural health centers like Noyes Health in Geneseo have received a subsidy from the federal government. It covers the difference in actual cost to care for Medicare patients.
That subsidy is set to expire at the end of the year.
Noyes Health President Dr. Chad Teeters told News10NBC that losing this funding would have devastating consequences.
“If we didn’t have this funding, it could’ve resulted in closing half of our ICU beds or about 20% of our medical and surgical unit beds, which would be devastating for these communities,” he explained. “For a facility such as ours, where Medicare only pays about $.84 on the dollar without the subsidies, we would not be able to continue to provide the depth and breadth of services to the population that we do.”
He added that it’s especially critical now when hospitals are seeing a reallocation of patient populations from larger centers to regional or rural facilities.
Sen. Chuck Schumer said it’s an issue he’s working on fixing. One issue is that the funding is an annual legislative effort. He hopes that Congress can make it permanent, or even push it out to 5-years at a time, which would remove some of the annual stress associated with getting that gap funding approved.
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