Grassley Statement on Iowa’s Action to Support the Rural Emergency Hospital Program
Governor Reynolds signs law to enable Rural Emergency Hospitals in Iowa
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) issued the following statement after Governor Kim Reynolds’ signing of state legislation to enable Rural Emergency Hospitals (REH) to exist in Iowa:
“I applaud Governor Reynolds and the Iowa General Assembly for passing legislation to enable Rural Emergency Hospitals to exist in Iowa. This action follows federal legislation that I championed to give rural hospitals another option to keep their doors open—a lifeline. REH is the most significant reform to protect access to essential rural health care services in decades. I’m glad rural hospitals and communities in Iowa have one more option to sustain their operations and maintain health care access in the community.”
According to the Rural Health Redesign Center that is serving as the Rural Emergency Hospital Technical Assistance Center, more than 50 hospitals and other organizations have expressed interest in REH.
In 2020, Grassley was instrumental in getting the REH designation signed into law. REH offers a financial lifeline for providers by allowing certain rural hospitals to customize their health care infrastructure and provide services that better align with the specific needs of their patient populations. The policy creates a new, voluntary Medicare payment designation that allows either a Critical Access Hospital (CAH) or a small, rural hospital with less than 50 beds to convert to an REH. The goal is to preserve patient access to emergency medical care in rural areas that can no longer support a fully operational inpatient hospital.