Federal Budget Problems Stall Cuts For Some Rural Hospitals
For now, a move to cut a subsidy critical for some Northwoods hospitals has been put to the back burner says a hospital group spokesperson.
In August, the Wisconsin Hospital Association put out alarm bells about funding for "Critical Access Hospitals". A federal Health and Human Services Inspector General recommended removing critical access hospitals from Medicare payment status. The money from the federal budget helps the most rural of hospitals maintain service and without it, experts say, it could end service in those communities.
WHA's Eric Borgerding says the temporarily- resolved federal budget crisis put the Inspector General's recommendation onto the back burner...
"....this most recent temporary resolution really didn't really make any substantive policy changes as it relates to spending in the federal budget and that relates to critical access hospitals..."
Borgerding says the money is critical to keeping some hospitals open. Borgerding says the temporary resolution means the issue will likely resurface...
"....anything that involves eliminating the program for critical access hospitals reoccuringly comes back on the table and we expect to be dealing with this threat in the next two to three months..."
In this region Antigo, Merrill, Tomahawk and Eagle River hospitals have this special status. Rhinelander and Minocqua hospitals are not in the program.