Budget cuts threaten rural Oregon hospitals

Budget cuts threaten rural Oregon hospitals

A federal budget-cutting proposal to reduce Medicare could devastate 15 rural Oregon hospitals, state officials say.

The proposal involves “critical access hospitals" that get higher Medicaid payments under a program started in 1997 amid a wave of hospital closures in rural America.

Oregon has 25 of the critical access or rural hospitals.

But 15 are within 15 to 35 miles of another hospital, which is why their payments are threatened. Until 2006, the 15 were exempted from a limit on hospitals not considered sufficiently remote for the higher payments. Now, a recommendation from the inspector general’s office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services could end that exception. It would affect about 850 hospitals nationally.

Read more at The Bend Bulletin.