Recap of Legato's Visit on Capitol Hill

Posted on February 14, 2017

ItsABill

All is normal in Washington, D.C.

Normally chaotic, that is. I recently returned from joining the National Rural Health Association's (NRHA) Public Policy Institute to advocate for the needs of rural healthcare organizations. It was a productive and educational experience.

Of course, the elephant (no political pun intended) in the room was the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Will it be repealed, replaced, overhauled, adjusted?

The takeaway for me is that the words "repeal" and "replace" have negative political connotations. Consensus among rural healthcare leaders and members of Congress is that there are positive aspects of the ACA, as well as areas that need improvement. One concern, of course, is making sure that short-term changes don't take away access for patients. Another is that costs are higher than anyone would prefer. My opinion is that the ACA won't be totally repealed and replaced; that just doesn't seem practical.

The healthcare industry leaders in my delegation (Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative) focused on issues such as making sure the 340B program remains, as well as its impact on sustainability for rural hospitals throughout the nation. Leaders such as Black River Memorial Hospital, CEO Mary Beth White-Jacobs explained how the revenue received from this program helped the hospital meet community needs such as hospice and homecare programs.

Robert Van Meeteren, CEO of Reedsburg Area Medical Center educated members of Congress on the importance of fixing the CMS 96-hour rule and its current impact on rural hospitals. Watching people's responses, I genuinely felt that the real-life stories helped legislators see the true face of those who may be affected by their decisions. They learned how a rural hospital's success is not simply about providing healthcare, but it's also the foundation for the economic stability of the entire community.

Thank you to NRHA and to RWHC, for allowing me to join this important event. And thank you for helping me understand the issues in even more depth, thus allowing our team at Legato to use this knowledge in helping you achieve your business goals and effectively compete in the marketplace.

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