Legislation to Bolster Rural Hospitals Clears Key Committee Vote
June 04, 2019
Today, legislation aimed at improving the financial stability of rural hospitals gained unanimous support from the state Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
Senate Bill 314, sponsored by Senator Lisa Baker (R–Luzerne), would establish the Pennsylvania Rural Health Redesign Center (RHRC), which would serve as the governing body of the new Rural Health Model, which began January 1, 2019, and was formally announced during March. The RHRC also would serve to provide technical assistance to participants in the model as they build and execute global budgets and begin transforming the way they deliver care in their communities.
The RHRC is a vital part of the state’s Rural Health Model, a cutting-edge global budget pilot program, which is a partnership of Pennsylvania’s rural hospital community, the state Department of Health, and the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation.
Participants receive a fixed amount of funding for a fixed period of time—as opposed to payment based on patient volume—to improve the health and outcomes of the communities they serve.
Five Pennsylvania hospitals are participating in the Rural Health Model’s first year:
- Barnes-Kasson Hospital
- Endless Mountains Health Systems
- Geisinger Jersey Shore Hospital
- UPMC Kane
- Wayne Memorial Hospital
Senate Bill 314 is a vital component of ensuring the Rural Health Model’s success. Programs like the Rural Health Model are innovating the way that hospitals meet the needs of their patients and plan for the future. Participants are looking at their community’s unique health needs and working to emphasize preventive care and chronic condition management, behavioral health care, address the opioid crisis, and provide specialized care for older Pennsylvanians.
HAP thanks Senator Baker for her leadership on this issue, and Senator Michele Brooks (R–Crawford), chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee for supporting the bill.
For more information, contact Stephanie Watkins, HAP’s vice president, state legislative advocacy, or Kate Slatt, HAP’s senior director, innovative payment and care delivery.