The federal government’s program to help rural hospitals has grown bloated and unwieldy, according to a report released Thursday by the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services…
The OIG looked at all 1,329 hospitals [JCG: that’s about one of every four hospitals in the country] currently in the program and found that 849 of them would not meet the requirements if they were required to reenroll ― nearly 64 percent. And that’s costing the government an extra $860,000 per critical access hospital each year, according to the report. [JCG: Would you believe they are paid cost plus!]…
Medicare beneficiaries are also paying more. Coinsurance rates are an average of $400 more for outpatient care at critical access hospitals. That costs beneficiaries an average of $485,000 extra in coinsurance per hospital, the OIG found. That’s a total of about $1.3 million in excess payments a year per hospital for taxpayers and beneficiaries. So, all told hospitals in the program that are “exceptions” cost the federal government $1.1 billion.
Rural hospitals: No:
“We are alarmed by the message this is sending to rural America,” says Brock Sabbath, senior vice president of the National Rural Health Association.
Source: Kaiser Health News.