Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Medicare to reimburse critical-access hospitals training medical residents, making more likely they will stay there

A rule taking effect Oct. 1 will allow the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to reimburse critical-access hospitals for the cost of training residents. Such hospitals, which account for more than two-thirds of all rural community hospitals, get slightly higher CMS reimbursements in return for limiting their services, bed numbers and length of patent stays.

The rule change will make it easier to recruit doctors to rural areas, now that critical-access hospitals will be compensated for training residents. In Montana, for instance, 60 percent of physicians stay and practice in the rural areas where they train, Mari Hall reports for the Billings Gazette.

Democratic Montana Sen. Jon Tester, who proposed the change, told Hall he's excited about the new rule change: "Anytime you can do good things for the state of Montana and rural America in general, it’s a good thing."

Also starting Oct. 1, CMS will adjust its Medicare payment formula in a way that will boost payments to rural hospitals. But it's not all good news, since a federal appeals court recently reinstated a rule that limits extra payments to "disproportionate share" hospitals, which serve disproportionately poor populations.

No comments: