Cookeville Regional Interim CEO Buffy Key said she feels encouraged by Senator Marsha Blackburn’s recent visit.
Key said she was proud that the Putnam County area had so much representation at the meeting, including several from the hospital. Key said Blackburn has done a great deal to try and bolster rural health opportunities.
“I think the wage index that they’re working on in DC right now will help us tremendously,” Key said. “Because we have to be able to compete with other hospitals in larger cities, especially for the rural population.”
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is working on a wage index geared towards medical facilities that take Medicare and Medicaid. The wage index will compare the ratio of the area’s average hourly wage to the national average hourly wage.
Key said this is crucial for hospitals like Cookeville Regional Medical Center, where 67 percent use CMS to fund care. She said that is a huge issue for CRMC, especially when some hospitals will not take Medicare or Medicaid.
“So CMS, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is what she’s talking about and who she was working with on this wage index to try and increase that for all of us,” Key said.