Bill signals windfall for rural health

A Kansas bill signed in late April would bring sweeping changes to provide new funding sources and increased access to rural health care and mental health services across the state.

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May 3, 2021 - 8:07 AM

Allen County Regional Hospital

TOPEKA — A Kansas bill signed in late April would bring sweeping changes to provide new funding sources and increased access to rural health care and mental health services across the state.

A centerpiece provision of House Bill 2208 would allow Kansas hospitals to take advantage of federal action in December, which created the designation of “Rural Emergency Hospitals.” The similarly named Rural Emergency Hospital Act would enable certain Kansas hospitals to certify under this umbrella, allowing them to lower the number of mandated beds and better control costs.

Proponents of the measure say significant shifts in population, and a growing number of uninsured residents in Kansas are driving up uncompensated care costs. Current financing does not allow rural hospitals to adapt and threaten rural health care in Kansas, said David Jordan, president of the Hutchinson-based United Methodist Health Ministry Fund.

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