Rural Caregivers in a Bind

A rare-disease exclusion in the Affordable Care Act is making it difficult for rural hospitals to keep costly, lifesaving drugs in stock. Though the ACA folded rural hospitals into a federal program that discounts drugs for hospitals with primarily low-income patients, the provision prevents them from getting cost savings on expensive drugs that treat rare diseases.

A rural hospital may pay $8,010 for a single dose of a clot-busting drug, while a nearby regional hospital receives an 80% discount.

“If we don’t have the drugs we need, people will die,” says physician Barry Pierce of Stone County Medical Center in Arkansas.

Source: Scientific American

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