Rural Hospital Stabilization Committee issues final report but overlooks Medicaid expansion

On February 23, 2015, the Rural Hospital Stabilization Committee (RHSC), formed by Governor Deal, issued a final report outlining its suggested solutions for Georgia’s struggling rural hospitals.  While we support the Committee’s recommendations, we joined fellow advocacy organizations in expressing disappointment that the Committee did not identify closing coverage gap through Medicaid expansion as a potential solution.  You can read our response here.

The recommendations in the Rural Hospital Stabilization Committee’s final report include:

  • A four site “Hub & Spoke” pilot program to improve care coordination in rural communities
  • Maintenance and protection of Georgia’s Certificate of Need laws
  • Expanded scope of practice for non-physician providers, like physicians assistants and nurse practitioners
  • Increased support for school-based health centers

Throughout 2014, the Rural Hospital Stabilization Committee met to discuss the needs of Georgia’s struggling rural hospitals and explore possible solutions.  Georgia Watch’s Health Access Program attended several of those meetings.  In November 2014, Georgia Watch, along with Georgians for a Healthy Future, the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, Families First, and ten other consumer and community-based organizations submitted a report on how Medicaid expansion could provide a lifeline of reimbursement for uncompensated care to rural hospitals.