WASHINGTON – Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) are calling on 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.
“The 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. REH offers 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.
The 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 services.”

Full text of the letter can be found HERE.