Bennet Joins Bipartisan Bill to Benefit Rural Hospitals

Extends Key Medicare Programs Critical to Colorado’s Rural Health Care

Washington, D.C. - Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet joined Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) in introducing legislation to permanently extend critical Medicare financing programs that assist rural hospitals in Colorado.

"Colorado's rural hospitals are vital to our communities, and it's essential that we do our part to help them overcome the financial challenges they face," Bennet said. "Last month, I visited Delta County Memorial Hospital and saw firsthand the value it brings to the community. Extending these programs would help stabilize rural hospitals and ensure they continue to provide high quality health care services."

The bipartisan Rural Hospital Access Act of 2017 would permanently extend the Medicare Dependent Hospital (MDH) and Low-Volume Hospital (LVH) programs. The MDH designation helps hospitals that primarily serve Medicare enrollees maintain financial stability. The LVH designation helps hospitals that treat a low number of patients and would otherwise struggle with high costs.

Both of these programs help rural hospitals structure their funding streams so they can stay open and serve patients. In addition to providing essential health services, including emergency care, the existence of these programs influences local economies, as hospitals are major employers in rural communities across the country. Without an extension, the programs are set to expire on October 1, 2017.

There are 594 Low-Volume Hospitals nationwide, 12 of which are in Colorado. These include the Platte Valley Medical Center (Brighton), Montrose Memorial Hospital (Montrose), San Luis Valley Regional Medical Center (Alamosa), St. Thomas More Hospital (Cañon City), Arkansas Valley Regional Medical Center (La Junta), Yampa Valley Medical Center (Steamboat Springs), Delta County Memorial Hospital (Delta), Valley View Hospital (Glenwood Springs), Sterling Regional Medical Center (Sterling), Vail Valley Medical Center (Vail), St. Anthony Summit Medical Center (Frisco).

Click HERE for the complete text of the bill. Click HERE for a summary of the bill.