RANGELEY, ME – The Rangeley Board of Selectmen convened on May 6, 2024, with a key focus on Franklin Memorial Hospital’s pursuit of critical access designation. Barb Sergio, President of Franklin Memorial Hospital, provided a comprehensive update on the hospital’s application process and the potential implications for the community.

Sergio explained that the critical access program is a federal initiative that affects healthcare reimbursement for facilities in rural areas. By obtaining this designation, Franklin Memorial Hospital would receive more favorable reimbursement rates from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), specifically 101% of reasonable costs for Medicare, Medicaid, and MaineCare patients. This change could provide significant financial benefits to the hospital, which has operated at a deficit for the past decade.

The hospital’s eligibility for the program is due to a recent change in the definition of a “rural” area, which now includes hospitals within 35 miles of another facility via a two-lane highway. Sergio emphasized that patients would not experience any changes in the quality of care or available services due to the designation. In fact, the hospital plans to expand its offerings, including a new oncology infusion center and a renovated emergency department.

Sergio addressed concerns about potential increases in patient costs, noting that approximately 15% of the hospital’s patients with traditional Medicare that doesn’t have a supplement plan coverage may face slightly higher copays. However, the hospital has set aside financial aid to assist affected patients.

The Board also moved to accept donations to the Rangeley Fire Department, approved the disposal of surplus property, and authorized the Town Manager to sign fireworks contracts for the July 3rd celebration. Additionally, they scheduled a public hearing for May 20, 2024, to discuss the town warrant and approved various contracts and committee appointments.

The meeting concluded with two executive sessions, one for labor negotiations with no action taken and another for personnel matters, action or no action not available as it was not recorded on the zoom call.

Please note that the Town Office will be open May 9th, but the counter will be closed due to vacation and professional development occurring simultaneously. 

Franklin Memorial Hospital (FMH)

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