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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: July 31, 2018 03:11 PM
From: Senator Lisa Baker
To: All Senate members
Subject: Addressing Pennsylvania's Rural Hospital Crisis
In recent years, we have heard a great deal about the acute financial challenges afflicting many of our rural hospitals. The communities housing these cornerstone facilities are worried that possible closures will diminish health care access and deal another severe blow to already struggling local economies.

The state Department of Health (DOH) has developed a substantial Rural Health Program to address critical problems and change the operating climate from one of desperately staving off decline to one of seeking out opportunities.

This program is intended to help by:
  1. Developing a more predictable payment plan
  2. Creating a fixed budget to regularize reimbursements
  3. Improving the ability to develop and carry out expanded and innovative community health services
  4. Providing the capacity to pursue programs addressing key needs such as behavioral health and substance abuse and cooperative EMS
The Rural Health Redesign Center (RHRC), a public-private collaborative entity, is established to oversee the transformation. This effort will be initially funded by a $25 million grant from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. Rural hospitals generally serve a higher concentration of Medicare and Medicaid patients, a chief contributor to the financial problems because of the reimbursement structure and methods. The RHRC will have the capacity to raise funds from other sources, such as foundations.

Rep. Tina Pickett and I are joining the DOH to address Pennsylvania’s rural hospital crisis through the introduction of measures in both chambers. I am attaching information providing greater detail about our proposal, and invite your cosponsorship of this important legislation.

View Attachment

Introduced as SB1237