(WTAJ) — U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) are introducing a bill that would private financial security and stability to rural hospitals.

The Rural Hospital Support Act would also extend and update federal programs.

“Every American deserves reliable access to health care,” said Senator Casey. “Rural hospitals can be the difference between life and death in many parts of the U.S. Often, a rural hospital means not only safe, dependable access to health care and emergency health needs but economic safety and stability for an entire community.

On average, rural hospitals account for 14% of total employment in rural areas, according to the Rural Health Information Hub.

Other elements within the Rural Hospital Support Act include:

  • Make permanent the enhanced low-volume Medicare adjustment for small rural prospective payment system hospitals.
  • Update the year on which sole community hospitals and Medicare-dependent hospitals can base their operating costs from FY2012 to FY2016.
  • Make permanent the Medicare-Dependent Hospital program which ensures that eligible rural hospitals are reimbursed for their costs.