Press Release

Statement on the Health Care Access and Rural Equity Act (H-CARE) of 2006

Rick Pollack
Executive Vice President

Rural hospitals provide essential care for millions of Americans.  As demand has increased, payment has decreased and new challenges - from the workforce shortage to technology - continue to add to the challenges rural hospitals face.  Today’s legislation would improve health care quality and access in rural areas, as well as increase the viability of rural providers by extending existing provisions and introducing new ones vital to rural hospitals.

Congress demonstrated its commitment to rural health care by passing several significant provisions in the MMA and DRA, including the extension of the outpatient hold-harmless provision for rural hospitals with fewer than 100 beds, a 2 percent add-on for ambulance trips in rural areas and a 5 percent rural add-on for home health services. This legislation takes the next step to ensure provisions like these are extended so that rural providers receive the assistance they need to remain the backbone of their communities. 

On behalf of America’s hospitals, we are pleased to support this legislation and applaud Congress for taking an important step today towards ensuring rural health providers have the resources they need as they continue to care for their communities.

About the AHA

The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care and 43,000 individual members. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA website at

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