Sinema Working to Keep Rural Hospitals Open

Jul 12, 2023

Senator cosponsored the bipartisan Rural Hospital Support Act

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema cosponsored the Rural Hospital Support Act – bipartisan legislation helping to keep rural hospitals’ doors open by extending and modernizing federal programs hospitals rely on to properly serve their communities.
In Arizona, supporting rural and community hospitals is critical to maintaining health care access in underserved communities that often rely on a single hospital or rural health care clinic for all their medical needs.
“I’m working to keep rural hospitals open so all Arizonans can easily receive the important and lifesaving care they need in their local communities,” said Sinema.
Earlier this year, Sinema launched her Rural Development Working Group – an assembly of local leaders from rural communities across the state – to deliver real results on the issues impacting families and communities in rural Arizona. The Senator’s support of the Rural Hospital Support Act is part of her commitment to serving Arizonans in all parts of the state.
The Rural Hospital Support Act ensures rural hospitals can stay economically strong by: making permanent the enhanced low-volume Medicare adjustment for small rural hospitals; updating the year on which sole community hospitals and Medicare-dependent hospitals can base their operating costs from FY2012 to FY2016 to capture rising costs; and making permanent the Medicare-Dependent Hospital program which ensures that eligible rural hospitals are reimbursed appropriately for their costs. Together, these programs ensure federal reimbursements to rural hospitals keep up with the rising costs of providing care in rural communities.
The Medicare-dependent designation was created in 1989 for small rural hospitals and has been reauthorized 10 times. The low-volume Medicare adjustment was created in 2005 and has been reauthorized seven times. In addition, the sole community hospital program was created and made permanent in 1983. In 2022, the Low-Volume Hospital and Medicare-Dependent Hospital designations were extended through fiscal year 2024.