Wiregrass Medical Center reclassifies from urban hospital to rural

The Wiregrass Medical Center in Geneva is reclassified from an urban hospital to now being a rural hospital.
Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 2:23 PM CST
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GENEVA, Ala. (WTVY) - The Wiregrass Medical Center in Geneva is reclassified from an urban hospital to now being a rural hospital.

“It opens up a lot of opportunities for us to qualify for rural funding,” Janet Smith, CEO of the Wiregrass Medical Center, said.

Smith said this is a request they have worked toward since 2018.

The change is now possible since Geneva City is now designated as rural due to the latest U.S. Census Bureau criteria and the past census data.

Smith said since the medical center is within Geneva City, it allows the hospital to use the cities updated designation to reclassify as rural as well.

Prior to this, Smith said the medical center was classified within the Dothan Metropolitan Statistical Area, forcing them to be designated as an urban hospital.

Smith explains the financial opportunities this reclassification brings for them.

“It actually brings a lot of changes for potential reimbursements, ability to qualify for rural grants,” Smith said. “Rural healthcare is hard and there’s a lot of federal and other state programs that help subsidize rural hospitals that previously we were not eligible for and it’s not just hospitals, it’s other healthcare providers including ambulances and physicians can also get additional reimbursement if they are working in a rural area so this will mean a lot for healthcare in Geneva.”

Smith said the hospital missed out on a lot of the rural funding during the COVID pandemic time period that was specifically designated for rural facilities because they did not have this designation.

“We’re excited that there may be future opportunities to get funding for our facility,” Smith said.

Smith adds this reclassification does not impact their patients or their staff.

“We may be able to qualify for additional funding, there is additional reimbursement,” Smith said. “There are things that will help us provide better services for our patients when we can get paid to maintain the facilities here.”

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