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that is comprised of small rural hospital administrators who devote their time and energy on an uncompensated basis to improve the rural healthcare status of the State.   As Louisiana’s small rural hospital trade organization, the Coalition has proven to be an effective voice for Louisiana’s small rural hospitals.  The Coalition has focused on legislative and administrative advocacy in the state and federal arenas, amassing numerous achievements for its member hospitals.

These accomplishments include the enactment of a unique statute, the Louisiana Rural Hospital Preservation Act of 1997. This landmark state legislation, passed over the objections of health insurers and the managed care industry, established a state policy that recognizes that Louisiana’s small rural hospitals are an endangered species and that as such, they require special protection such as maximization of reimbursement, including Medicaid payments, Medicaid disproportionate share payments, and “any willing provider” status for small rural hospitals and the physicians that practice at those hospitals.  With this special statute in place, the Coalition, in concert with key legislative allies, has successfully lobbied for in excess of two hundred million dollars in additional reimbursement for Louisiana’s small rural hospitals.  It has also provided small rural hospitals special status, exempting them from damaging budget cuts.

There are numerous other Coalition achievements, noting the recent U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision recognizing a Louisiana State Medicaid Plan Amendment promoted by the Coalition that reimburses small rural hospital provider-based rural health clinics for their uncompensated costs under the Louisiana Medicaid Disproportionate Share Program.  This reimbursement is unique in that it provides DSH payments for the professional medical services provided to the uninsured.  The Coalition is actively involved in advancing the interests of it constituent hospital members before state and federal regulatory and legislative bodies with a particular focus on securing reimbursement for uncompensated costs, reimbursement methodologies and various strategies to recruit and retain allied health professionals and physicians.

Below are the major accomplishments of the Coalition:

The IMD Fight - The Coalition, on behalf of its constituency, worked closely with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals and members of the Louisiana Congressional Delegation to thwart potential exposure of Louisiana's hospitals to recoupment in connection with payments for psychiatric services.

The Rural Hospital Preservation Act - As a result of the Coalition's effort, the Louisiana Legislature enacted the Rural Hospital Preservation Act.  The coalition accomplished this by working with Senator Don Hines, Representative Rodney Alexander and other key members of the Legislature representing rural districts.  This landmark legislation includes key legislative findings that acknowledge the role of rural hospitals.  1997 Regular Session Senate Bill 500.

Critical Access Hospital Status - The Coalition worked with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals to assist the state in adopting of the Rural Hospital Flexibility Plan.  The Rural Hospital Flexibility Plan allows many rural hospitals to obtain critical access hospital status, permitting them to participate in a cost based reimbursement program for outpatient and inpatient services under the Medicare Program.

Appropriations - The Coalition has successfully lobbied the Louisiana Legislature to secure funding for member hospitals' uncompensated costs associated with providing care to Medicaid and indigent residents of the rural areas served by our member facilities.  Coalition staff monitors interim meetings of Legislative Financial Committees.  Meetings with key legislators are routinely scheduled to keep them aware of our hospitals needs.

Regulatory Representation - The Coalition staff works closely with state and federal governmental agencies responsible for regulating rural hospitals to ensure that our member hospitals have input in the development of regulations and that those agencies move promptly to implement the legislative initiatives passed by the Coalition.  Staff also attends and monitors all meetings of Legislative Oversight Committees.

Funding Initiatives - The Coalition recognizes that adequate funding for services is the cornerstone of financial viability for its member facilities.  To learn more regarding funding initiatives, visit the Coalition's non-profit organization information, Building Healthy Communities, Inc.