CHARLESTON – House Majority Leader Brent Boggs is hopeful that West Virginia’s congressional delegation will accommodate his request to hold congressional hearings across the state to gain a better understanding of how the new Medicare reimbursement rules will affect the 18 critical access hospitals in West Virginia.
“As a member of the Board of Directors at Braxton County Memorial Hospital and as a legislator concerned about the quality of health care in our state, I am deeply concerned this will negatively impact access to health care in our state,” Boggs, D-Braxton, said. “
The Majority Leader sent a May 14 letter expressing his concerns and asking for congressional hearings to U.S. Senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin and to U.S. Representatives Nick Rahall, Shelley Moore Capito and David McKinely.
Changes to reimbursement rules by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services could cost the state’s critical care hospitals millions of dollars.
“It has been estimated that these critical access hospitals could lose a total of $5.5 million a year, and that estimate could increase if the new rules become retroactive to 2009,” Boggs said. “With this loss of revenue, some of these hospitals could be forced to shut down or, at a minimum, diminish patient access to essential care in the most rural areas of West Virginia.”
The Majority Leader noted his letter to members of the congressional delegation that close examination of this issue and a discussion of how to address it is in the best interest of all West Virginians.
“Our critical access hospitals are a vital component in the state’s heath care delivery system. Moreover, they are major employers in their respective counties and essential tools in attracting and retaining job opportunities and investments in rural West Virginia,” he stated. “We can ill afford to place such important contributors to the physical and economic health of our state at risk.”