NORWICH, NY— This morning Senator Chuck Schumer visited Chenango Memorial Hospital to announce the Rural Hospital Access Act of 2017.
“We have Rural Hospitals in Chenango County,in Cortland County, in Lewis County, in Herkimer County…. so many hospitals in the region. And they give great health care, but unfortunately, it’s more expensive to run a rural hospital for two reasons, ” explained Senator Chuck Schumer. ” One, you have have to bring people in from further away. But two, they aren’t as crowded as some of the urban hospitals, and yet they have to buy the same expensive machines, but if they can’t run them all the time, it’s tougher for them.”
He said these hospitals rely heavily on funding, especially since there are high Medicare costs due to our region’s large elderly population.
“I have always been a defender of our rural hospitals. We have two programs that help the Rural Hospitals provide just as good health care as the finest hospitals in the big cities, ” said Senator Schumer. “And there is a plan to cut them. This hospital, Chenango Memorial, will lose $1.8 million dollars a year. They would have to lay off people, they wouldn’t have the same health care that they do now. So I teamed up with a Republican Senator from Iowa, Chuck Grassley, and we are going to make a big push to help these rural hospitals.”
According to Senator Schumer, two Medicare programs that provide money to rural hospitals will expire in October, but this Act will help hospitals permanently keep the funding. Dr. Drake Lamen, President of Chenango Memorial Hospital says if passed, this legislation will be very beneficial.
“That would be a big deal for us,” said Dr. Drake Lamen. “Because it would allow us to to count on that revenue from the reimbursements instead of wondering if this year the bill will be passed or not.”
Dr. Lamen said it would make it easier for hospitals to plan their budgets.
Senator Schumer stated, “I came here to Chenango Memorial Hospital because they are worried about these cuts, and I told them I’m going to use all the clout I have in the Congress to make sure that these cuts are not gone into effect. We beat them back 4 years ago, so we are going to do it again, and I’m very optimistic.”