The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved DHR Health’s expansion. This decision paves the way for DHR Health to expand services to meet our community’s needs across the Rio Grande Valley now and in the future

DHR Health will establish a general acute care community hospital in the City of Brownsville, Texas to provide much needed services, improve health equity, address physician shortages and health disparities, and reduce the need for Brownsville residents to seek care outside the city. Elected officials representing the City of Brownsville and Cameron County, including local city and county leadership, state representatives and senators, and members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate are supportive of DHR Health’s efforts. 

The City of Brownsville is the largest city in the Rio Grande Valley with 183,000 residents and is expected to grow by 40,000 residents over the next five years. Despite its size, the City of Brownsville is a designated Medically Underserved Area (MUA) and “high needs” Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA). Given these designations and projected population trends, DHR Health has collaborated with local community leaders to identify specific needs. As a result, DHR Health is vigorously recruiting experienced specialists with experience in short supply for services including, but not limited to, urologists, cardiologists, gastroenterologists, gynecological oncologists, general surgeons, and colorectal surgeons. 

DHR Health is locally owned by the same physicians, employees and local business leaders that live and work in the Rio Grande Valley. With over 70 specialties and sub-specialties, we offer the most comprehensive and advanced health care services in the region. DHR Health is a safety-net hospital which provides care to all in a county without a public hospital. We serve a disproportionate share of low-income and Medicaid patients. In 2021 alone, DHR Health provided over $90 million in charity care, and approximately 44% of our patients are Medicaid. We continually invest in our community by working to raise the standard of care to meet local needs, reduce health disparities, and increase health equity and access to the most advanced health care services. For example, DHR Health is a designated Joint Commission Comprehensive Stroke Center, the region’s first designated Level I Trauma facility (highest level of care), the area’s only transplant program, the region’s only Level IV maternity care hospital (highest level of care), and the largest teaching hospital with 150 residents and fellows in 12 GME programs. 

DHR Health is proud to invest in expanding access to services across the Rio Grande Valley. We are grateful to the people of Brownsville, Texas who have welcomed us with open arms. 

High Medicaid facility

DHR Health meets the legal standard to qualify for expansion as a “high Medicaid facility” and any claims to the contrary are false.

Federal law allows community safety-net hospitals who serve a disproportionate share of low-income and Medicaid patients, like DHR Health, to expand if they qualify as a “high Medicaid facility”. The law sets forth 3 criteria for a hospital to qualify as a high Medicaid facility: 

  • Not be the sole hospital in the county;
  • Have the highest Medicaid admission of any hospital in the county in which the hospital is located for the three most recent years; and 
  • Certify that they do not discriminate against federal health care beneficiaries. 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1395nn(i)(3)(F); 42 C.F.R. Sec. 411.362(c)(3). 

In granting DHR Health’s expansion request, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) followed the letter of the law, and rightly rejected calls to ignore the law, stating: 

“The comments in opposition … did not challenge DHR’s qualification as a high Medicaid facility ….. [r]ather,, the commenters asserted that, even if DHR qualifies as a high Medicaid facility, CMS has authority to deny the request…” 

Editor’s Note: The above gust column was penned by Dr. Manish Singh, CEO of DHR Health. The column appears in The Rio Grande Guardian International News Service with the author’s permission. Dr. Singh can be reached by email via: [email protected].

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