Schumer proposes bill to provide rural hospital funding

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U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer has proposed a bill that would bridge significant funding gaps needed for rural hospitals.

The Democrat held a news conference at UHS Chenango Memorial Hospital in Norwich this morning.

He’s proposed a bill that would extend two federal funding sources, the Medicare-Dependent Hospital and Low Volume programs.

Both initiatives provide $1.8 million in funding annually to UHS Chenango, which allows the hospital to offer services at a fixed rate, despite its low population of patients compared to larger hospitals.

More than 60-percent of patients are covered by Medicare and the funding is used to offset costs to keep prices reasonable and workers employed.

UHS Chenango CEO and CMO Drake Lamen says if the funding is cut, they’d have to find a way to make ends meet.

“We’d have to cut services somewhere. We’ve been working on matching revenue and expense for the past dozen years. Revenues have been decreasing during that entire time. There’s not a lot of low-hanging fruit left,” said Lamen.

Lamen says the hospital’s largest expenses are employee salaries and benefits.

Both the Low Volume and Medicare-Dependent Hospital programs provide funding to a combined 25 hospitals statewide.

The programs are set to expire in October if the legislation is not passed.

You can see our full interview with Schumer, where he addresses national issues such as Syria, North Korea, and the Supreme Court, below:

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