Rep. Jodey Arrington introduces bill to help rural hospitals

Rep. Jodey Arrington introduces bill to help rural hospitals

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Rural hospitals across Texas are struggling, many are on life support and some have had to pull the plug.

To help resuscitate these hospitals, Lubbock Congressman Jodey Arrington introduced the Healthcare Enhancement for America's Rural Towns (HEART).

The legislation temporarily extends the Medicare Low-Volume Adjustment Program that provides additional add-on payments to a hospital that is more than 15 miles away from another hospital and has less than 1600 annual Medicare discharges. It also, permanently, extends the Medicare Dependent Hospital Program for the ones that have more than 60 percent of patients who benefit from Medicare.

Steve Beck, Senior Vice President of Covenant Health, said without Rep. Arrington's legislation, the future looks bleak for rural healthcare providers.

"This program will at least put back in place a program that's been there to help them but we have other programs that also need to be reinstated or sustained as well but this piece is key because it really provides support for those low volume and high Medicare dependent hospitals," Beck said.

Arrington said he has received vast support for the bill and expects it to make its way to the president's desk.

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