A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Beshear, McConnell settlement over Medicaid funding secures $383 million for rural hospitals

Gov. Andy Beshear and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday announced $383 million in state and federal dollars for 54 rural hospitals by settling a 13-year-old dispute regarding Medicaid funding rates. The settlement negotiated by Beshear, with support from McConnell, successfully convinced the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to offer funding in combination...

As cash-strapped rural hospitals are forced to make dramatic choices, will federal help arrive in time?

By Liz Carey Special to KyForward Two weeks after St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead furloughed a quarter of its staff, the hospital was caring for its first COVID-19 patient. Cutbacks during a national health care crisis are counter-intuitive, but administrators say the cuts are necessary. In rural areas across the country, as well as in some urban areas, hospitals are laying off or furloughing...

Legislature heads home after passing bill senators say lets Beshear buy all anti-virus gear needed

By Melissa Patrick and Al Cross Kentucky Health News In its waning hours Wednesday, the General Assembly passed a bill to help rural hospitals, but without specific funding, and added to it language that the Senate president said would give Gov. Andy Beshear the authority he needs to buy protective gear for health-care workers fighting the covid-19 pandemic. Beshear speaks daily at his covid-19 press...

Lawmakers returning to Frankfort to pass budget, other bills; some possible health-related measures

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News As lawmakers head back to Frankfort to pass a budget — and other bills, despite Gov. Andy Beshear’s repeated request that they pass only a budget and anything related to the coronavirus — several big bills related to other aspects of health are pending, including some controversial measures. Beshear, a Democrat, denied the request of the Republican...

Daily Yonder: A tale of two hospitals just 24 miles apart; one of them survived, the other did not

By Taylor Sisk Special to KyForward Between 2013 and 2017, 64 rural hospitals across the country shut down, more than double the rate of the previous five years. More than half of closures since 2010 were in the South, where most states have chosen not to expand Medicaid, as allowed for under the Affordable Care Act. One such hospital was Cumberland River Hospital in the Middle Tennessee town of Celina,...

Rural hospitals are likely to suffer from limit on payments for Medicaid and unisured patients

Many if not most rural hospitals are likely to take a hit from an Aug. 13 decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. “Hospitals that care for a large share of Medicaid, low-income and uninsured patients stand to receive less funding from the federal government after the D.C. Circuit reconsidered how Medicaid disproportionate-share hospital reimbursement is calculated,”...

Change in Medicare reimbursement rules means more money for 39 rural Kentucky hospitals

The Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services said Friday that it will adjust its Medicare payment formula, starting in October, in a way that will boost payments to rural hospitals, which “have complained that this measure has unfairly disadvantaged some of them because wages are lower in their communities,” Dan Diamond reports for the Politico Pulse newsletter. (Photo from Rural Health...

Rural Blog: Repealing Medicaid expansion provision of ACA could leave more rural hospitals at risk

Repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act could lead to an increase in the number of vulnerable rural hospitals, Shawn Radcliffe reports for Healthline. A report by the Chartis Center for Rural Health found that in states that expanded Medicaid in 2014, 36 percent of rural hospitals had a negative operating margin in 2015, compared to 47 percent in states that didn’t expand the program....

Rural Blog: Study says a state’s failure to expand Medicaid hurts rural hospitals more than urban

If your state didn’t expand Medicaid under federal health reform, that is likely hurting your rural hospitals more than it hurts urban hospitals, says a study by researchers at the University of North Carolina, published in the journal Health Affairs. Researchers “found that rural hospitals saw an improved chance of turning a profit if they were in a state that expanded Medicaid—while...

Corporate business plans, not local need, drive rural hospital closures, Kaiser report says

By Tim Marema Special to KyForward The number of rural hospital closures has increased every year since the Great Recession. A new report looks at three communities, including one in Kentucky, to learn why they lost their hospitals, and what happened when they did. Large, corporate hospital operators have closed rural healthcare facilities based on their business interests and haven’t considered...

More Kentucky patients are recuperating in local, rural hospitals after surgery in an urban hospital

Rural residents are increasingly being transferred out of big urban hospitals to recuperate in rural hospitals, many of which are struggling financially and can use the business. “We have seen trends of this around the state,” said Elizabeth Cobb, vice president of health policy for the Kentucky Hospital Association, said in an interview. Oregon’s legislature voted recently to encourage...

As auditor begins hearings on rural hospitals’ finances, state provides Medicaid report

By Al Cross Kentucky Health News   The expansion of the federal-state Medicaid program funneled $284 million to Kentucky health care providers in the first quarter of the year, the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services says in a report prepared for the hearings state Auditor Adam Edelen has begun to examine the fiscal health of rural hospitals.   Under the Patient Protection and Affordable...