Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a rural emergency licensure bill establishing the new hospital designation. IHA advocated for passage of the legislation throughout the legislative process.
“In the last decade, more than 140 hospitals have closed in the United States. Most of those hospitals are in rural areas including one here in Iowa,” said IHA President and CEO Chris Mitchell. “This bill provides a potential lifeline to our rural hospitals across the state, gives struggling hospitals another option to avoid closure and ensures that local access to care is maintained.”
Rural hospitals choosing to opt into the new category will continue to furnish emergency department services, observation care and, if a hospital chooses, other specified outpatient medical and health services. Services rendered must not exceed an annual per-patient average of 24 hours. For eliminating inpatient care, rural emergency hospitals will be paid the applicable Outpatient Prospective Payment System rate plus 5% and a monthly facility payment.
The final bill was unanimously passed by the Senate on March 14. IHA extends its thanks to Gov. Kim Reynolds, Sen. Mark Costello, Sen. Jeff Reichman, Rep. Martin Graber, Rep. Tom Moore for their leadership and the House Republicans who worked on the bill. IHA extends special thanks to Sen. Charles Grassley for his work at the federal level on the new designation.