Keller reintroduces RURAL HELP

March 24, 2021
In The News

Rep. Fred Keller, R-Middleburg, reintroduced the Reviewing Urban and Rural Adjustments to Level Hospital Expenses and Lopsided Payments Act, otherwise known as the RURAL HELP Act in the 117th Congress with original co-sponsors Mike Kelly, Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, Morgan Griffith, Frank Lucas, and Greg Steube.

The legislation aims to bring parity to inpatient Medicare reimbursement payments between rural and urban hospitals to help struggling rural hospitals survive by requiring the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to determine the precise level of systematic disparity that exists between urban and rural hospital payments in the annual Inpatient Prospective Payment System. The legislation also specifies that once the evaluation is completed, the secretary shall make an adjustment to CMS payment policies to make up for the identified disparity.

“Quality care in rural America should be affordable for those who need it and be cost-effective for the rural hospitals administering it. Unfortunately, rural hospitals in Pennsylvania’s 12th District and across the nation are constantly faced with the risk of closure from things like lopsided Medicare reimbursement rates and trying to make ends meet in a rural setting,” Keller said. “That’s why our team reintroduced the RURAL HELP Act so we can systemically reevaluate declining Medicare payments and ensure rural hospitals can continue their important service to our communities.”

As it relates to Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District, the RURAL HELP Act will help keep hospitals open by providing reimbursement parity with urban or suburban hospitals including Tyler Memorial Hospital in Wyoming County and Barnes Kasson Hospital in Susquehanna County.