Rural hospitals struggling amid pandemic

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WASHINGTON, DC – As the coronavirus pandemic continues to burden hospitals throughout the country, there’s been concern around rural hospitals.

NewsChannel 34’s Basil John reports on how this could keep rural hospital doors open.

Lawmakers says rural hospitals are at a financial disadvantage.

“The hospitals in rural America should have the same benefit if they’re providing a procedure as the hospitals in the urban settings,” says Pennsylvania Republican Fred Keller.

Keller introduced legislation to require the Federal Government to equalize the medicare reimbursement rates of rural and urban hospitals.

“This isn’t just to address the pandemic. This is to make sure that our rural hospitals get the due compensation they deserve so that they can be sustainable and provide healthcare in rural america in the future,” says Keller.

The National Rural Health Association says more than 300 rural hospitals are at risk of closing and Killer says adjusting the reimbursement rate will fix that.

“We shouldn’t be treated any differently and be getting a lower reimbursement rate simply because we are in a rural setting,” says Keller.

Pennsylvania Representatives Dwight Evans and Matt Cartwright like the idea of the bill, and are ready to work together.

“This is not a partisan issue. This is an issue where we really have to work together in order to address the challenges that we face,” says Evans.

“There’s a lot of power in Washington that supports urban places as well. Oftentimes they win the fight. So you kind of want to sidestep that fight if you want to help the local rural hospitals,” says Cartwright.

“There’s a lot of power in Washington that supports urban places as well. Oftentimes they win the fight. So you kind of want to sidestep that fight if you want to help the local rural hospitals,”says Cartwright.

Evans and Cartwright also say passing the Heroes Act in the Senate would provide hospitals immediate relief.

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