Sens. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and John Hoeven, R-N.D., yesterday introduced AHA-supported legislation (S. 3399) that would renew for five years a demonstration project that tests new models of health care delivery for critical access hospitals in the most sparsely populated states. Launched in 2016, the Frontier Community Health Integration Project aims to better integrate and coordinate care, and reduce avoidable hospitalizations, admissions and transfers to distant providers.
“Critical Access Hospitals serve as essential health care access points for frontier areas, yet geographic isolation and persistently low patient volumes may make some services unsustainable in the context of traditional Medicare payment rules,” AHA said in a letter of support. “In response to these unique circumstances, the FCHIP demonstration tests the impact of enhanced payment and opportunities for providing certain services, with the goals of improving access and quality of care and reducing Medicare expenditures.”