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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Barrasso, R-Wyo., today praised the Senate’s passage of the rural health provisions contained in the “Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP Extension Act,” S. 2499.

“We successfully fought to include extensions of rural health provisions in the Medicare bill passed by the Senate last night,” Barrasso said. “Without this extension, Wyoming doctors, nurses, and hospitals faced large payment cuts that would have made it hard for them to care for seniors.”

Rural hospitals are more dependent on Medicare payments as part of their total revenue.  In fact, Medicare accounts for approximately 70 percent of total revenue for small, rural hospitals.

Additionally, rural hospitals have lower patient volumes, but these hospitals must compete nationally to recruit doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and emergency medical technicians. 

“I am committed to working to strengthen Wyoming hospitals, rural health clinics and community health centers and will work to increase access to primary health care services.”

“Most importantly, I commit to working to aid in the successful recruitment and retention of health care providers in rural America .”

The bill also includes an 18 month extension of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

“I’m pleased SCHIP will continue to provide health insurance for the more than 6,000 low-income children in our state."