Some rural hospital in the Southern Tier is being saved from losing their Critical Access Hospital status.  

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer has announced the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has officially reversed its previous rules change of the eligibility criteria for rural hospitals.  

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Scott Olson/Getty Images
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The Margaretville Hospital in Delaware County was among those at risk of losing critical reimbursements totaling almost two-and-a-half million dollars. A loss of those reimbursements could have put the hospital at risk of having to curtail emergency services in the rural communities of Delaware and western Ulster Counties.

Senate Majority Leader, Schumer made the announcement November 23 at the A.O. Fox Hospital Tri-Town Campus in Sidney. saying the move is expected to save Southern Tier hospitals over $5.4 million each year. Margaretville is expected to save $2.4 million, O'Connor Hospital in Delhi $3 million and another $30 million for other hospitals across "Upstate."

The rule reversal, preserving Critical Access Hospital (CAH) status, are expected to go into effect January 1, 2023.

Dr. Michael Doyle, Executive Director and Chief Meidal Officer of Health/Alliance of the Hudson Valley said Margaretville Hospital will be able to continue to provide vital healthcare and emergency services to patients in rural communities by being eligible for critical government reimbursements.

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According to a news release from Schumer's office, the CAH designation was created by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 to give small rural healthcare providers greater financial reimbursements for taking on Medicare and Medicaid patients as well as providing other resources.

One of the requirements for eligibility is that a hospital be located a certain distance from another hospital by a primary or secondary road and provide around-the-clock emergency services. A new definition of "primary road" that was instituted, if enforced, would have led to at least nine hospitals in New York State to lose their Critical Hospital Access status and possibly millions of dollars in funding.

The rule reversal will clarify that single-lane NYS interstate routes would not count as primary roads

While hospitals in danger of losing their CAH status appear safe, other facilities that had been denied applications for the designation can reapply.

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