Representative Bradley Byrne

Representing the 1st District of Alabama

Byrne Fighting for Alabama's Rural Hospitals


May 30, 2018
Press Release

Rep. Bradley Byrne visits Atmore Community Hospital Tuesday to address challenges rural hospitals face.

Byrne says one of the most serious issues facing Alabama is the closure of rural hospitals and the Medicare Wage Index.

Since 2011, eleven hospitals closed in Alabama, and another dozen are in danger of closing in the next 2 years.

He says one of the big issues driving the problem is that Alabama has the lowest Medicare reimbursement rate in the country.

Click here to see the full report from WPMI.


Byrne holds hospital town hall

By: Andrew Garner, Atmore Advance

ACH Administrator Doug Tanner said hospitals are asking for an adjustment in the calculation intended for the Medicare reimbursement depending on the geographic area the hospital is located.

“It’s inequitable, but it’s unfair,” Tanner said about the higher reimbursement rate for other states. “When you look at the fact that our population is aging, especially in a rural area like this, every day more and more qualify for Medicare. That’s not going to end for a while.

“When you start to look at younger people, it becomes more volatile that we need to be compensated somewhere more comparable close to provide that care,” he said. “It’s not an easy issue. I think the Congressman (Byrne) painted that picture today of some of the political gyrations you go through to make this happen.”

Byrne said Congress is working on language to help make changes, and the head for the Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services is requesting feedback from hospitals on this issue.

Click here to read the full story from The Atmore Advance.


Congressman visits ACH to address rural hospital challenges

By: Don Fletcher, Atmore News

With over-regulation, soaring operational costs and a federal reimbursement index that works against them, rural hospitals are fast becoming an endangered species.

U.S. Congressman Bradley Byrne was in Atmore Tuesday, May 29, where he discussed some of the challenges facing small-town medical centers during a private briefing with state hospital officials and local leaders at Atmore Community Hospital.

The update was attended by executives of hospitals and healthcare-related entities from across the region and state, including Danne Howard, executive vice president of the Alabama Hospital Association.

“If you close a hospital in any community, particularly a rural community, it’s devastating for the community,” Byrne said. “Back in 1990 they closed the hospital in Flomaton and it really hurt that community. It hurts in three ways: Number 1, people don’t have easier, quicker access to healthcare, and sometimes time is of the essence; Number 2, these are jobs in that community, and they’ve lost those jobs. Number 3, it’s hard to attract new business and industry to a community if you don’t have a hospital.”

Click here to read the full story from The Atmore News.


Byrne talks rural hospitals

By: Josh Easley, Brewton Standard

Rep. Bradley Byrne met with southwest hospital and local officials Tuesday at Atmore Community Hospital to discuss the challenges facing Alabama’s rural hospitals.

Byrne led a town-hall like discussion about the issues hospitals are facing, and said in a press conference afterward, that closing a hospital in any community would be devastating.

Additionally, Byrne spoke about the Medicare Wage Index, a program created in the 1980s that determines how much hospitals are reimbursed by the federal government for care, and how it is hurting hospitals in rural areas and around the state.

At present, Alabama has the lowest Medicare reimbursement rate in the country. The state’s hospitals are reimbursed as much as 21 percent below the national average.

Click here to read the full story from The Brewton Standard.