In developing new models for delivering health care services in rural areas, federal officials should “take into account Washington State’s unique health care delivery system, geography and the specific needs of our rural hospitals and the residents they serve,” members of the Washington congressional delegation wrote this week to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma.
Specifically, the lawmakers wrote that any model must focus on the health and wellbeing of patients; ensure access to care in all areas of the state; recognize rural workforce shortages and unique staffing approaches used by rural, low-volume hospitals; account for significant cost variance that occurs in small hospitals year over year; appropriately calibrate risk sharing and provide adequate Medicare technical assistance to support delivery system reform.
Sen. Cantwell and Rep. Newhouse spearheaded the letter. Also signing were Sen. Murray and Reps. Schrier, McMorris Rodgers, Kilmer, Herrera Beutler, DelBene, Heck, and Larson. WSHA strongly supported their effort. Thanks to those hospitals who contacted the delegation and encouraged members to sign.