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Reps. Stefanik, Delgado introduce HANYS-supported bill to protect critical access hospitals

This week, Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-Schuylerville) and Antonio Delgado (D-Rhinebeck) introduced the Protecting Rural Access to Care Act, HANYS-supported legislation that would protect small and rural hospitals across New York state that are at risk of losing their critical access hospital status due to administrative policy changes made by CMS.

CAH designation allows certain limited-service, acute care facilities with up to 25 beds to receive enhanced Medicare reimbursement rates to ensure access to essential healthcare services in rural communities. In general, CAHs must be located more than 35 miles away from similar hospitals or 15 miles in areas with mountainous terrain or where only secondary roads are available. However, changes implemented by CMS in July 2015 further restrict this mileage criteria, threatening the status of many of New York’s 18 CAHs.

HANYS appreciates the leadership of Reps. Stefanik and Delgado on this important issue and will continue to work closely with New York delegation members, including Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), to seek passage of this Act.

The bipartisan Protecting Rural Access to Care Act would:

  • restore the pre-2015 standard permanently for CAHs certified prior to 2015, ensuring the rules don’t change as they seek recertification;
  • require CMS to engage in a public notice and comment period for any future guidance or regulation changes made to the designation criteria for CAHs; and
  • ensure that unless any formal update to distance criteria is finalized, hospitals seeking CAH certification or recertification will be subject to the pre-2015 standard.

Contact: Elyse Oveson

Published August 14, 2020