Rep. Tina Pickett, R-Bradford, commended the Department of Health and Human Services on its launch of a new Pennsylvania Rural Health Model.
The Pennsylvania Rural Health Model is designed to help ensure that rural hospitals stay open so that sustainable access to quality health care is available and that jobs stay local.
“To me, rural has always meant more time and more miles,” said Pickett on March 7 at a press conference in Harrisburg to unveil the model. “We need these facilities so that our residents can have access to quality health care—such as emergency services, lab testing, rehab and treatment centers—without having the burden of wasting time and money driving long distances.”
The Rural Health Model is an alternative payment model, transitioning hospitals from a fee-for-service model to a global budget payment. Instead of hospitals getting paid when someone visits the hospital, they will receive a predictable amount of money. Payment for the global budget will include multiple-payers, including private and public insurers.
In addition to the model, Pickett has introduced legislation that would create the Rural Health Redesign Center to make a more predictable payment plan and develop a fixed budget to stabilize reimbursements.
“Over 30 hospitals in Pennsylvania are at risk of closing,” Pickett continued. “This could result in thousands of lost jobs and a significant decrease in access to health care services for these rural communities. This program will help strengthen and provide residents with access to quality health care services, while also keeping local jobs.”
Pickett’s legislation, House Bill 248, is currently in the House Health Committee. Companion legislation sponsored by Sen. Lisa Baker, R-Luzerne, Senate Bill 314, is in the Senate’s Health and Human Service Committee.