Hoeven Working to Help Jamestown Regional Medical Center Provide Access to Quality Rural Health Care

Senator Working on Appropriations Committee to Support Rural Health Care Programs that Benefit JRMC, North Dakota and the Nation

JAMESTOWN, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today joined local officials to mark Jamestown Regional Medical Center’s (JRMC) fifth anniversary in its modern facility. The senator is working in his role on the Appropriations Committee to support the work being done at JRMC and other hospitals like it, including an increase in the Labor, Health and Human Services appropriations bill to $152.6 million.

“Hospitals like the Jamestown Regional Medical Center are essential to the wellbeing and quality of life in our rural communities,” Hoeven said. “That is especially true of Critical Access Hospitals like JRMC, which serves nine counties and treats more than 9,000 patients a year, including those with serious illnesses or traumatic injuries. This cutting edge facility, which we celebrate today for five years of excellent service to its community, will enable JRMC to provide for the health care needs of the region for many more years to come.”

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Hoeven continues to support rural health care programs that benefit JRMC, North Dakota and the nation. This includes funding for grant programs administrated through Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA), such as Rural Hospital Flexibility Grants and Rural Health Outreach Grants.

• This year the Appropriations Committee passed the Fiscal Year 2017 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education bill. The bill provides $152.6 million, an increase above the FY2016 funding level, for rural health care programs. The challenges faced by patients and providers in rural communities are unique and often significantly different than those in urban areas. Therefore, the bill focuses resources toward efforts and programs to help rural communities, such as telehealth.

Hoeven is also cosponsoring key legislation that would directly benefit rural health care in North Dakota.

• Critical Access Hospital Relief Act: This legislation revises physician certification requirements for inpatient Critical Access Hospital services. The legislation would remove the condition of payment for CAHs that requires a physician to certify that each patient will be discharged or transferred in less than 96 hours. The condition of participation requiring CAHs to maintain a 96 hour annual average per patient would remain. Currently hospitals receive no reimbursement for any part of the stay if the doctor doesn’t certify that the stay is less than 96 hours. By dropping the physician payment requirement, hospitals will be reimbursed for hospital stays beyond the four day limit as long as the annual average of all patients stays less than 96 hours or four days. This will help the hospital accommodate patients who may need more than 26 hours of hospital care.

• Protecting Access to Rural Therapy Services Act (PARTS) - This bill increases access to outpatient therapeutic services in rural hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals like JRMC by revising Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) policy to allow general supervision, rather than direct supervision for outpatient therapeutic services such as drug infusions, blood transfusions, outpatient psychiatric services, wound treatment, and cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation services. Hospital outpatient services have always been administered by licensed skilled professionals. However, in 2009, CMS shifted policy to require that these services be furnished under the “direct supervision” of a physician who is required to be physically present in the department at all times, regardless of the low risk nature of the procedure. This bill would change this requirement back to “general supervision,” a standard that permits services to be furnished under the general oversight of a supervising practitioner, without requiring his or her physical presence, which will enhance access for rural patients.

JRMC is a Critical Access Hospital with 345 employees that serves the south central region of the state, including Barnes, Eddy, Foster, Griggs, Kidder, LaMoure, Logan, Stutsman and Wells counties. The facility provides inpatient and outpatient care, a 24-hour emergency department that sees over 9000 patients per year, a level IV trauma center, a specialty clinic staffed by local orthopedic, podiatry, urology and wound care providers, three state-of-the-art operating rooms, the region’s only birthing center seeing over 350 births per year, as well as comprehensive radiology, rehabilitation, lab and other support services.

Senator Hoeven is also a member of the Rural Health Caucus in Congress, which advocates for health care policies that serve rural states.