Reviving Rural Healthcare: Senator Moran’s Act Could Reopen Closed Hospitals

By Trish Svoboda

Jerry Moran could pave the way for previously closed rural hospitals to reopen. These hospitals could apply for the Rural Emergency Hospital (REH) designation, provided they can prove they fulfilled all necessary eligibility criteria between January 1, 2015, and December 27, 2020.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 introduced the REH designation. This new Medicare provider designation allows specific hospitals to transition and continue providing limited services instead of shutting down. However, as it stands, only those hospitals that fulfilled the eligibility criteria at the time of the legislation’s enactment on December 27, 2020, can apply for this designation.

“Access to outpatient and emergency services often determines if a rural community can survive,” said Sen. Moran. “More than 100 rural hospitals have closed since 2015, and this legislation will allow these hospitals an opportunity to re-open and serve their communities.”

The Rural Emergency Hospital Adjustment Act proposes to extend the eligibility date to January 1, 2015. This would apply to hospitals that were either designated as critical access hospitals or were rural hospitals with a capacity of no more than 50 beds.

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