Colorado rural hospitals pass on dropping inpatient care

Colorado rural hospitals that could receive $3 million in funding from Medicare if they drop inpatient care and keep an emergency room are declining the program and opting to keep their inpatient care, the Greeley Tribune reported Jan. 23.

Colorado has 32 critical access hospitals eligible for the program, and the nine that responded to requests for comment told the Greeley Tribune that they were considering dropping inpatient care. Proponents of the plan believe it could help rural areas that can't sustain a full hospital keep an emergency room.

Dave Engel, the CEO of Springfield, Colo.-based Southeast Colorado Hospital District, told the Tribune that converting didn't make sense, as they would lose revenue and patients would perceive the hospital to be failing and seek care elsewhere. 

Before any Colorado hospitals join the program, the state will have to create a new type of license for rural emergency hospitals.

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