The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

Local News

January 9, 2013

Aid continues for rural hospitals

Medina Journal-Register — ALBION — U.S. Senator Charles Schumer detailed Monday how a Medicare program that is expected to provides Orleans Community Health with more than a half-million dollars in assistance was approved as part of a much larger agreement.

Schumer announced that the restoration of the Low Volume Hospital Program, which provides Medicare funding for small hospitals in rural areas, at a gathering at the Orleans Community Healthcare Center. The program expired at the end of September, removing $560,000 in estimated annual aid to OCH. 

Congress voted to extend the program through September of this year, providing a total of more than $1.6 million to the three GLOW Region healthcare systems. Together they employ more than 1,500 people and provide care that otherwise would be out-of-reach for an aging population.

Orleans Community Health, whose services includes the Medina Memorial Hospital, is also receiving reimbursements for the aid lost in the three-month delay in reauthorizing the program.

Schumer said the hold-up was due to the overall delaying of new legislation as both parties and both houses worked out a deal to avert the so-called “Fiscal Cliff” and the broader battle over entitlement programs.

“It was caught up in the larger Medicare fight,” said Schumer, who explained that he and Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, were able to lobby their colleagues to support the program. “We established clearly that this is bi-partisan issue and showed there is a need ... when we described what the program did, it was very well received.”

Schumer noted that the new Orleans Community Healthcare Center is a sign of the changing nature of healthcare in rural areas. Services have improved in Albion and other under-served areas, but the financial hurdles are always

“Places like this have changed the standards for rural care,” Schumer said. “But a few weeks ago, it seemed that everything that is achieved here was in jeopardy.”

Text Only
Local News