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Senator Moran introduces bill to help save rural hospitals

Senator Moran introduces bill to help save rural hospitals

Senator Moran introduces bill to help save rural hospitals


Kansas Senator Jerry Moran is co-sponsoring a bill to help keep rural hospitals open by giving them better access to federal resources.  He has introduced the bill with Minnesota Senator Tina Smith.

The Rural Emergency Hospital Improvement Act would increase opportunities for Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) and rural hospitals to convert to a Rural Emergency Hospital Medicare designation, and it would make technical improvements to the designation. These changes would help make the conversion to an REH more appealing by giving rural hospitals facing closure access to critical resources from the federal government to remain open.

Senator Moran said in a press release, “Too many rural hospitals in Kansas and across the country are struggling to keep their doors open, and this legislation offers those hospitals a lifeline. The Rural Emergency Hospital designation has already helped save numerous rural hospitals, and expanding access to this successful program is a common-sense way to make certain more hospitals stay open.”

The bill has several key provisions:

  • Allow previously closed rural hospitals to re-open and apply for the Rural Emergency Hospital designation if they can demonstrate they met all eligibility requirements between Jan. 1, 2015 and Dec. 27, 2020.
  • Direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to create a waiver program for facilities operating similarly to an REH in order to convert to an REH.
  • Allow REH facilities to maintain or create a unit for inpatient psychiatric care, obstetric care and allow for limited inpatient rehabilitation services.
  • Require the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to provide additional funding for laboratory services.
  • Clarify that REH facilities are eligible for Small Rural Hospital Improvement grants.
  • Direct the Secretary of HHS to allow an REH to be eligible as a National Health Service Corp site.
  • Authorize REH facilities to transfer patients from acute care to a Skilled Nursing Facility without leaving the hospital, in accordance with the Social Security Act.
  • Allow an REH facility to revert back to a Critical Access Hospital (CAH) to regain necessary provider status, only if the facility was designated a necessary provider prior to converting to REH.


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