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California Code, Health and Safety Code - HSC § 124800

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The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(a) Rural hospitals serve as the “hub of health,” and through that role attract and retain in their communities physicians, nurses, and other primary care providers. Because of economies of scale compounded by reimbursement reforms, many rural hospitals will close before the end of this decade. This will result in the departure of primary care providers and the loss of emergency medical services both to residents and persons traveling through the area. The smallest and most remote facilities are at highest risk.

(b) The rural hospital is often one of the largest employers in the community. The closure of such a hospital means the loss of a source of employment. This has an economic impact beyond the health sector. Further, economic development of a rural area is, in part, tied to the existence of a hospital. People, for example, tend not to retire to areas where there is not reasonable access to physician and hospital-based services.

(c) Rural hospitals, especially the smaller facilities, lack access to the sophisticated expertise necessary to deal with current reimbursement regulations and the associated bureaucracy.

(d) Most rural hospitals are unable to participate in programs that provide access to short- and long-term financing due to lender requirements for credit enhancement.

(e) Because of economies of scale compounded by regulations under Title 22 of the California Code of Regulations and other regulations, rural hospitals have high, fixed costs that, in the present reimbursement environment, cannot be offset by revenues generated from serving a relatively small population base. Further, in an economically depressed rural area, community contributions are not sufficient to offset deficits.

(f) Rural hospitals are an important link in the Medi-Cal program, and without special consideration that takes into account their unique circumstances, rural hospitals will be unable to continue providing services to Medi-Cal patients. This is especially true for outpatient services that are reimbursed at less than 60 percent of costs.

(g) While only a very small percentage of the Medi-Cal budget for inpatient and outpatient services is spent for services rendered by rural hospitals, their participation is essential to preserve the integrity of the entire Medi-Cal program.

Cite this article: - California Code, Health and Safety Code - HSC § 124800 - last updated January 01, 2023 |

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