WASHINGTON – Sens.
Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) are calling
the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to ensure a
timely and stakeholder-driven implementation of the new and voluntary Rural
Emergency Hospital (REH) Medicare payment designation.
REH designation offers the flexibility to support rural hospitals that can no
longer support inpatient services while maintaining services that better align
with the specific needs of their patient population including 24/7 emergency
care, outpatient care, ambulance services, and more. It is important that federal regulations and guidance
adequately consider the needs of rural providers. This will ensure REH is a
viable solution for rural hospitals giving rural communities the quality of
life they deserve,” the senators wrote.
As former chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Grassley secured
a rural emergency hospital designation into law last year.
a financial lifeline for providers by allowing certain
rural hospitals to customize their health care infrastructure and provide
services that better align with the specific needs of their patient
populations. The policy creates a new, voluntary Medicare payment
designation that allows either a Critical Access Hospital (CAH) or a small,
rural hospital with less than 50 beds to convert to an REH. The goal is to
preserve beneficiary access to emergency medical care in rural areas that can
no longer support a fully operational inpatient hospital.
American Hospital Association applauded
REH passage saying, “Senator Grassley’s Rural Emergency Hospital (REH)
legislation, which the AHA has advocated for and would allow rural hospitals to
continue to serve the health care needs of their communities by providing
emergency and observation services without the provision of inpatient
Full text of the letter can be found HERE