Rural Hospitals Provide Better Value

KANSAS CITY, MO, April 30, 2012 – According to data released by the National Rural Health Association (NRHA), small, rural hospitals nationally have equal or better quality outcomes, and cost less per Medicare beneficiary than their urban counterparts. The intersection between cost and quality defines the value proposition that rural systems of care provide to the Medicare program. Despite the cost-effectiveness of rural hospitals, many may be forced to close if Congress does not reauthorize two rural hospitals programs set to expire on October 1.

This groundbreaking information, using CMS Shared Savings Program data, reveals that Medicare spending is 3.7% less per rural Medicare beneficiary than care delivered in urban systems. This new data on quality and cost, combined with known higher patient satisfaction scores, makes small rural hospitals high value providers for rural communities. The data shows that these Congressionally-established rural payment programs are not “bonus” payments, but rather cost-effective, targeted payments that maintain access to care for millions of rural patients across the country.

“This data clearly shows that small rural hospitals and clinics are a good value to both patients and to Government payers,” said Alan Morgan, NRHA Chief Executive Officer. “There is a lot to learn from this data.  Specifically, how we can redesign our existing healthcare system to be less expensive, have better quality, and receive better satisfaction scores from the patients themselves.”

The groundbreaking report entitled “Rural Relevance Under Healthcare Reform: A Performance-Based Assessment of Rural Health care in America” presents summary findings from research conducted by iVantage Health Analytics. The report sheds new, multi-dimensional light on the rural healthcare delivery systems using the latest Medicare shared Savings data files, the first nationwide hospital rating system to evaluate rural hospitals, and the industry’s largest proprietary rural Emergency Department database.

About The National Rural Health Association

NRHA is a nonprofit organization working to improve the health and well-being of rural Americans and providing leadership on rural health issues through advocacy, communications, education and research. NRHA membership is made up of 21,000 diverse individuals and organizations, all of whom share the common bond of an interest in rural health. For more information visit www.RuralHealthWeb.org.

About iVantage Health Analytics

iVantage Health Analytics, Inc.™ is a privately held healthcare business intelligence and technology company. The company is a leading provider of information products serving an expansive healthcare industry. iVantage Health Analytics™ integrates diverse information with innovative delivery platforms to ensure customers’ timely, concise, and relevant strategic action. For more information, visit www.iVantageHealth.com

To see the entire report, click here.