The Federation of American Hospitals is urging leaders in the House and Senate to reauthorize the Medicare-dependent Hospital (MDH) and Low-Volume Hospital (LVH programs before they expire at the end of the month. In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the group outlines the major challenges facing rural hospitals due to rising inflation and supply chain constraints that have been brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The programs have received bipartisan support in Congress. The most recent bill the Assistance for Rural Community Hospitals Act, would reauthorize the programs for five years.
“Rural hospitals traditionally serve patient populations that are older, lower income, uninsured and more likely to rely on Medicare and Medicaid when compared to the national average and to their urban counterparts,” according to the letter. “This challenging patient demographic means rural hospitals have a high volume of Medicare-dependent patients, and a lower volume of total patients overall. The MDH and LVH payment programs provide eligible rural hospitals with the financial stability and support they need to prevent closures and ensure continued access to care in rural communities.”