HHS Committee endorses Jackson rural hospital bill
AUGUSTA—The Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee endorsed a bill from Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, to support rural hospitals on Friday. The vote was unanimous of the members present.
“It’s simple – all Mainers deserve access to health care no matter where they live,” said President Jackson. “This bill ensures that Maine’s rural hospitals and health clinics can continue to provide critical services to communities all across the state.”
In Maine, about 40 percent of rural hospitals are at risk of closing and have collectively lost $20 million in the past five years. LD 1350, “An Act To Improve Rural Health Care,” would increase the reimbursement rate for rural hospitals and health clinics to 100 percent.
According to the Maine Hospital Association, rural hospitals are responsible for more than 8,000 jobs and contribute $1.6 billion to our economy annually. In terms of care, rural hospitals provide care to 240,000 ER patients, 2,500 newborns and 35,000 surgical patients on an annual basis.
LD 1350 will now go before the full Legislature for votes.