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Senators, representatives urge Medicare to reject recommendation

U.S. senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and representatives Collin Peterson, Betty McCollum, Rick Nolan and Tim Walz recently urged the Medicare program to reject recommendations from the Office of Inspector General (OIG) that they say would hurt rural hospitals.

In a letter to the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the members highlighted the negative impact removing the “necessary provider” designation for critical access hospitals (CAH) that fail to meet the distance requirements could have on both rural health care and their economies.

Approximately 71 of Minnesota’s 79 CAHs are at risk of losing their status if the necessary provider designation was eliminated, which could threaten their financial viability and potentially cause them to close or scale back their operations.

“Minnesota has one of the nation’s leading health care delivery systems,” the members said in the letter. “Critical access hospitals are an essential component of this delivery system. We strongly oppose the OIG recommendation that the CMS seek legislative authority to remove the ‘necessary provider’ designation for critical access hospitals.”