Potential Critical Access reimbursement policy change will not affect NRH if designation is approved

If a recommendation before the Department of Health and Human Services is passed by lawmakers, Newman Regional Health should be spared the negative effects other Critical Access hospitals may be facing.

Hospital administrators here have been pursuing Critical Access status for months with the possibility of gaining as much as $4 million a year in Medicare reimbursements. However, Health and Human Services is considering dropping the reimbursement level from 101 percent of services rendered to 60 percent, or the one used for other Medicare-certified hospitals.

The current proposal may affect Critical Access hospitals within 35 miles of each other, meaning Newman Regional Health is fine. The closest Critical Access facility is in Council Grove, 35 miles to the northwest.

The hospital has been losing over $1 million a year the past several years. Hospital administrators expect a final decision from the Centers for Medicare Services on its Critical Access application should come in about a month.

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