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Keokuk Area Hospital Appeals Ruling

Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA) is helping in the effort to secure a key designation for Keokuk Area Hospital.

He sent a two-page letter, earlier this week, to the Acting Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

In it, the Congressman wrote of his support for the hospital’s appeal of the agency’s denial of Critical Access status for the facility.

CEO Wally Winkler says receiving that designation would help the hospital through some very difficult financial times.

“Critical access status provides 100% of the cost of taking care of Medicare patients,” says Winkler, “while the traditional Medicare payment pays less than cost.”

Winkler says Keokuk Area Hospital has worked hard to get its financial house in order, despite providing care to a large number of low income clients.

He says the denial by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services was based on Keokuk’s location compared to Fort Madison Community Hospital.  Critical Access facilities must be at least 35-miles apart.

Winkler says Keokuk Area Hospital filed its appeal to the ruling earlier this month.  He says there have been instances in the past where the 35-mile barrier was waived.

Winkler says the hospital wants the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to consider all factors, in particular Keokuk’s indigent population, in making a final decision.

A ruling on Keokuk Area Hospital’s appeal could come within the next 70 days.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.