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Health, Science and Environment

Bill would appropriate 26 million for rural hospitals

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A bill in the state Senate would appropriate 26 million dollars to keep rural hospitals open and ensure low-income Michiganders have access to care.

The bill would create a pool of money designated for rural hospitals. Four million dollars would go towards obstetrical care with the other 22 million going towards unreimbursed services provided to Medicaid beneficiaries. 

Republican State Representative Edward Canfield is the bill’s sponsor. He said having an obstetrical unit is expensive but essential for rural districts.

“My district, Huron Memorial Hospital, still does delivery. But it’s always in question whether we can keep a critical mass of obstetricians there to do this.”

Canfield said without the hospital people would have to travel at least an hour to get care.

Canfield said the money would be divided among rural hospitals.

“Based on the number of Medicaid patients that are seen in the hospital and it helps fund uncompensated care as well.”

The bill passed out of the House last week and has already been assigned to the Senate appropriations committee.