President of Noyes Health in Geneseo speaks about risks of hospitals losing federal funding

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Regional and rural hospitals across the area did so much to prevent our healthcare system from collapsing during the pandemic. Now, they need help. 

They’re at risk of losing critical federal funding, including Noyes Health in Geneseo.

For the last several years, rural health centers like Noyes Health have been getting a subsidy from the federal government to make up for the difference in the actual cost of caring for Medicare patients. That subsidy is set to expire at the end of the year.

The president of Noyes Health, Dr. Chad Teeters, said the slash in funding would have a huge ripple effect in the rural communities his centers serve.

“If we didn’t have this funding, it could’ve resulted in closing half of our ICU beds or about 20% of our medical and surgical unit beds, which would be devastating for these communities,” Teeters said.

Especially a time when these smaller hospitals have played such a critical role in ensuring our regional healthcare system didn’t collapse under the pressure of increased demand combined with critical staffing shortages.

“For a facility such as ours, where Medicare only pays about $.84 on the dollar without the subsidies, we would not be able to continue to provide the depth and breadth of services to the population that we do,” Teeters said. “Especially critical now, when we’re seeing reallocation of patient populations from the larger centers that are 115% at capacity. So we were definitely more important during the pandemic. We’ve become even more important now.”

Senator Chuck Schumer was in Geneseo on Tuesday to talk with hospital leadership about the issue:

“I’m going to do everything I can to restore this money and use my cloud as majority leader to make sure that that happens,” Schumer said.

But if it doesn’t… “If we don’t extend it by December 31, it’ll go away,” Schumer said.

Jennifer Lewke: “I guess I’m asking all these rural and regional hospitals every year have to worry about this is there any sort of long-term fix?

Schumer: “Chrisley and I wanted to make it permanent but we couldn’t get the support so we have to do it each year one year maybe we can make it at least for five years so they don’t have to worry each year”

Dr. teeters tells me the last thing he wants to do is cut any services offered in his rural centers, especially coming out of the pandemic when so many people put off their regular screenings and checkups and now have more advanced health issues. We will keep you updated on any progress out of D.C.