Buena Vista County Hospital should benefit from a bill signed by President Clinton last week. The Balanced Budget Act relief provides $11.5 billion nationwide over five years for smaller, rural hospitals like BVCH.
"It's supposed to help rural hospitals in America and should increase our (Medicare) reimbursement rates whether it be inpatient or outpatient," said Laurie Gaffney, director of the BVCH business office.
BVCH and other small hospitals have said the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 greatly affected the Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement system, while generally penalizing smaller, more efficient hospitals.
At BVCH, Medicare pays on average only 53 cents for every dollar that is charged for outpatient service and only 67 cents per each inpatient dollar.
According to BVCH officials, the low reimbursement rates are in spite of BVCH's conservative fees, which are rated as some of the lowest in the state.
On average, between 50 and 60 percent of the patients at BVCH are Medicare patients, Gaffney said.
Read the rest of this article in the 12/30 Pilot Tribune.