Tri States Public Radio Staff
State, Federal $$ Available?
Tue January 24, 2012
Keokuk Hospital Seeking State Help
Keokuk’s mayor is optimistic the state will come through with funding for its hospital.
A delegation of city and county leaders joined representatives of Keokuk Area Hospital in a trip to Des Moines to meet with two key lawmakers in the field of health care.
State Representative Dave Heaton (R-Mt. Pleasant) chairs the Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee in the House while State Senator Jack Hatch (D-Des Moines) leads the same committee in the Senate.
Mayor Tom Marion says the goal of the meeting was to share information.
“We needed information on sources of revenue for the hospital,” says Marion, “and they needed information on why our hospital is unique. There are several factors (for that).”
Marion says the primary one is that Keokuk Area Hospital serves a high percentage of low-income clients.
He says there is a fund available for hospitals receiving reduced reimbursements from the federal government.
Marion says the state could also match local contributions to help secure federal money.
One plan being discussed would have both the city and the county contribute $100,000 while the state kicks in $200,000. The goal would be to turn that money into more than one-million from the federal government.
Marion hopes more meetings are scheduled to allow Keokuk to continue to make its case.
Keokuk’s federal lawmakers are trying to arrange a meeting between the head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Keokuk Area Hospital.
Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Congressman Dave Loebsack have co-written a letter to Department Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Keokuk Area Hospital is trying to secure a designation as a critical access hospital, which would provide higher reimbursements for services.
The designation would reduce the number of beds to 25, but it would mean more money for Keokuk Area Hospital.