Thursday, March 20, 2014

Georgia plan would help struggling rural hospitals

Gov. Nathan Deal
A proposal announced Wednesday by Republican Gov. Nathan Deal of Georgia could help struggling rural hospitals in the state stay open, Greg Bluestein reports for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Deal’s plan involves a 'step-down' that clears the way for ailing hospitals, and those that were recently shuttered, to offer only more limited services such as emergency care." Deal told Bluestein, “Communities should not have to go without crucial services – many of them life-saving – simply because they don’t fall within a certain zip code."

That's something for a state where critical-access hospitals have struggled to keep their doors open. When one closed in February it was the fourth rural hospital in the state to shut its doors in the past year. The Republican-controlled state legislature refused to expand Medicaid under federal health reform, despite pleas from hospitals that they needed expansion to remain open, and one Republican senator even said in a radio interview that some rural hospitals need to close, before changing her tune after receiving negative feedback. (Read more)

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