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Rural hospital bill moves to Governor

March 11th, 2014 - 5:41am

(Olympia) – Small rural hospitals will be able to receive critical funding as a result of legislation heading to the governor’s desk. The new law will also mean about a million dollars more a year for Olympic Medical Center.

The “Sole Community Hospital” bill yesterday cleared final hurdles in the state Senate and is headed to the governor’s desk for signature.

24th District Senator Jim Hargrove sponsored the bill and has two hospitals in his district that will benefit as a result of this legislation.

“This is extremely critical legislation for both Grays Harbor Hospital in Aberdeen and Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles. They have a very a very high Medicaid population – Grays Harbor has over 80 percent of their resources come from Medicaid, which pays far below cost. By changing this to a sole community designation, this should prop up the finances of our hospital and keep us from having a crisis in our local area," said Hargrove.

If Grays Harbor becomes a public hospital, their benefit will increase by more than $777,000 in fiscal year 2015 and by nearly $3 million in the next biennium. The bill originally passed out of the Senate with just one “no” vote and was passed unanimously in the house last week. It went back to the Senate yesterday for some minor amendments.

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