Iowa legislators look to offer emergency room licensing for rural hospitals

Iowa legislators are advancing proposals to set up emergency and outpatient services at rural hospitals in the state to take advantage of federal incentives, Radio Iowa reported Jan. 16.

By focusing on such services and not offering inpatient admissions, federal reimbursement rates would increase. The proposal, which this week passed a committee vote to advance to the Iowa House floor, would set up a state licensing process for approximately 30 rural hospitals, the report said.

One such hospital could be Blessing Health's Keokuk location, which ended inpatient services in the fall. Flint, Mich.-based Insight has signed a letter of intent to take over the shuttered hospital, which had 49 inpatient beds.

"Blessing Hospital has said they'd be interested in [operating a standalone emergency room] and they're the logical ones," state Rep. Martin Graber, told Radio Iowa.

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