Mercy Walworth at risk of losing Medicare payments
MADISON — Forty-two of Wisconsin's rural hospitals could lose special Medicare payments under a proposal by a federal fiscal watchdog agency, including one in Lake Geneva.
The Wisconsin State Journal reports the proposal from the inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services would strip special payment status from two-thirds of the nation's 1,328 critical access hospitals — those not considered to be in sufficiently remote areas — including 42 in Wisconsin.
According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, among those hospitals considered most at risk is Mercy Walworth Hospital, N2950 Wisconsin Highway 67, Lake Geneva.
The move could save Medicare and its beneficiaries $1.1 billion a year. But rural hospital leaders say losing the payments would threaten their ability to provide health care and hurt their local economies.
A more limited budget proposal by the Obama administration would affect eight of Wisconsin's 58 designated rural hospitals — those that are within 10 miles of another hospital.
Aurora Lakeland Medical Center, W3985 County Highway NN, Elkhorn, is the closest Walworth County hospital to Mercy Walworth, at a little over seven miles away.