Kentucky Hospitals Push Back Against Federal Certification Recommendation

Nov 22, 2013

The Kentucky Hospital Association is reacting to a federal recommendation that could affect a third of the state's acute care hospitals.

Twenty-nine of Kentucky’s healthcare facilities are what’s called “Critical Access Hospitals.” They serve many of the state’s rural patients and receive Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements at 101 percent of the cost of care provided.

Most of Kentucky’s Critical Access Hospitals were grandfathered into the CAH program in the mid-90s and were granted an exemption from a requirement that mandated they be located 35 miles or more from another acute care facility or in a mountainous region.

Now, the Officer of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Family Services is recommending that the government review and decertify facilities that don’t meet that requirement.

"This would mean significant cuts to reimbursements for our small, vulnerable hospital providers in very rural areas in Kentucky," says Elizabeth Cobb with the Kentucky Hospital Association. "We're afraid that hospitals would close, certainly jobs would be lost, and healthcare for rural Kentuckians would decline."

Cobb’s organization released a report of its own detailing the work done by Critical Access Hospitals and arguing against the OIG’s recommendation.

Kentucky is the ninth most rural state in the country with about 44 percent of the population living outside urban areas.