FMH Selected to Participate in Rural Hospital Demonstration Project
Is one of just 19 selected nationwide
March 2, 2011
Franklin Memorial Hospital (FMH), along with three other Maine hospitals, have been selected to participate in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Rural Community Hospital Demonstration Program, which provides reimbursements to small rural hospitals that better reflect the true cost of providing care to Medicare beneficiaries. A total of just 19 hospitals from six states were selected to participate in the demonstration.
“This program will help ensure that these hospitals are able to continue providing quality health care services to Mainers,” stated Congressman Michael Michaud in a prepared statement. “It will provide crucial funding to our small hospitals that are struggling under the current Medicare reimbursement formula.”
Other Maine hospitals selected to participate in the program are Inland Hospital in Waterville, Maine Coast Memorial Hospital in Ellsworth, and Miles Memorial Hospital in Damariscotta.
The Rural Community Hospital Demonstration Program was originally authorized in 2003 in response to the financial concerns of small, rural hospitals that are too large to qualify as Critical Access Hospitals. At the time, Maine was not eligible to participate. The Affordable Care Act reauthorized the program for an additional five years, allowing the 20 most rural states to participate, including Maine. Michaud advocated including these changes to the program in the Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law in March of last year.
“We are so fortunate to be one of 19 hospitals selected nationwide. Participation in this program allows us to receive cost-based reimbursement for inpatient services that will provide additional Medicare reimbursement to FMH annually for five years,” said Rebecca Ryder, FMH president/CEO. “This is a key bridge strategy for our organization as we make the transition from fee-for-service care to the new health care world of managing population health and will allow us to focus on initiatives to improve efficiencies and clinical outcomes.”
According to CMS, the demonstration is aimed at increasing the capability of the selected rural hospitals to meet the needs of their service areas. To accomplish the goals of improved efficiency and clinical outcomes, hospitals in the demonstration are being asked to participate in initiatives that will enhance efficiency and quality as a condition of participation.
According to Ryder, FMH will explore creative ways to better serve its patients including: evaluating access to primary care so that this care is not provided in the Emergency Department; exploring chronic disease management of conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and COPD, which can lead to hospitalizations; and exploring outreach efforts that can prevent readmissions.
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