Deborah Heart and Lung Center in Burlington County will soon receive some much needed federal funding for healthcare.

The Fairness for Our Hospitals Act sponsored by Shore Congressman Tom MacArthur (NJ-3rd District) grants about 6-million annually to Deborah Hospital solving the problem he says of an administrative wrong.

"Deborah Hospital was frozen out of the Medicare Dependent Hospital Program just because the census bureau declares New Jersey an all urban state and all urban states are not allowed to be in this program," MacArthur said.

His efforts to convince them Deborah is in a rural area in the middle of the Pine Barrens was unsuccessful, so legislation was put into the federal budget bill which just passed.

"They are now eligible as a medicare dependent hospital," MacArthur said. "They'll go through the normal application process and they'll be nothing to stop them from getting reimbursed like any other rural hospital with a lot of medicare patients."

MacArthur says up until now the not-for-profit specialty hospital was not considered in a rural area by the census bureau so he said he had to prove they were and that New Jersey is not all urban.

"Deborah meets every other criteria for a medicare dependent hospital," MacArthur said. "They are small and have to have under a certain number of beds, and they qualify. They have to have a certain percentage of medicare patients, and they qualify there as well."

The legislation allows Deborah to get the rates medicare dependent hospitals get in rural areas.

"They (Deborah) need help and this legislation gets them that help," MacArthur said.

MacArthur says funds will help Deborah in a number of different areas.

"Everything from being able to hire more staff to serve patients and they'll be able to invest in equipment for testing," MacArthur said. "Some of these pieces of equipment are seven-figure costs."

The legislation now makes Deborah eligible for a better rate from Medicare that'll further help with treatment of patients.

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