‘Medicare Advantage plans are crippling rural hospitals,’ CEO says
Delayed Medicare Advantage reimbursement is among the top concerns of rural hospital operators, one of several factors expected to be a drag on rural hospital finances in 2024.
Rural hospitals, which tend to run on thinner operating margins than metro-area hospitals, have been hurt by reimbursement cuts, staffing constraints, inflation, the aging population and interest rate hikes. While they may find some financial relief through new operating models, Medicaid expansion and potential mergers and acquisitions, closures and service cuts are expected to increase next year, industry observers said.
“There are so many independent rural hospitals that are burning cash at a rate that is not sustainable,” said Jim Kendrick, president and CEO of Plano, Texas-based Community Hospital Corp., which owns, manages and consults nonprofit community hospitals.