McConnell is “Very Attuned” but Noncommittal to Proposal to make Critical-Access Status Easier to Obtain for Struggling Rural Hospitals

Rural Health advocates are helping to advance legislation that would allow struggling rural PPS hospitals to qualify to convert to critical-access hospitals, which would be a lifeline for certain hospitals amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In return, hospitals would limit their beds, services, and length of patient stays. This would allow a limited number of hospitals to get critical-access designation, even if they are less than 35 miles from another hospital. McConnell spoke on the proposal Wednesday, saying he is ‘attuned’ to it but did not explicitly commit to the proposal. McConnell referenced the aid rural hospitals received in the first coronavirus relief package, saying rural health is certainly a focus and will continue to be in the next relief bill. We expect the first draft of the next COVID-19 relief package to come next week.