The Save Rural Hospitals Act will help curb the trend of hospital closures in rural communities by ensuring hospitals are fairly reimbursed for their services by the federal government
This legislation would increase reimbursements for 45% of Georgia hospitals.
According to Kaiser Health News, eight rural hospitals have closed in Georgia over the past 10 years
Senator Reverend Warnock has secured $306 million to help support Georgia’s rural hospitals and health care providers
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) reintroduced the bipartisanSave Rural Hospitals Act, legislation to help curb the trend of hospital closures in rural communities by making sure hospitals are fairly reimbursed for their services by the federal government. Establishing a minimum Medicare reimbursement level helps recruit and retain staff in rural health care facilities. The Senator was joined by U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Tim Kaine (D-VA), John Cornyn (R-TX), John Boozman (R-AR), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).
“As a voice for rural Georgia in the Senate, I’m proud to lead this bipartisan effort to make sure our state’s rural hospitals are financially stable and fully staffed,” said Senator Reverend Warnock. “While state politicians have deprived Georgia’s rural hospitals of millions of federal dollars by refusing to close the health care gap, I’ve promised to use every tool at my disposal to support rural hospitals. That’s why I’ll continue to work in a bipartisan manner on common-sense Medicare adjustments and fight for more federal funding for our rural health care.”
The legislation was first introduced in 2020 as a response to the substantial number of rural hospitals that closed over the past 10 years. Georgia has experienced eight rural hospital closures in the past decade, the third most of any state in the country. The Save Rural Hospitals Act would amend the flawed Medicare Area Wage Index formula that has disproportionately harmed rural and low-income hospitals. Currently, many hospitals in rural areas lack the resources available to those in more populated areas to offer competitive salaries. Due to those salary differences, rural hospitals receive lower reimbursements from the federal government, which contributes to their lack of resources and perpetuates a harmful staffing crisis. This legislation would increase reimbursements for 45% of Georgia hospitals.
In October 2022, Senator Warnock received the One Country Project Rural Champion Award in recognition of his vital leadership and legislative efforts to improve rural life, including supporting rural hospitals and clinics. Through the American Rescue Plan, Senator Warnock secured $306 million to help support Georgia’s rural hospitals and health care providers. Senator Warnock is an avid advocate for supporting rural hospitals through Medicaid expansion. The Senator introduced the Medicaid Saves Lives Act in the Senate and has advocated for a federal fix to close the Medicaid coverage gap.
A copy of the bill text is available here.