Alan Fisher, CEO of Woodlawn Hospital was asked to testify to the Indiana Senate Health Committee. Fisher is fighting not only for rural health but Woodlawn as well.

“There is a looming crisis that is going unnoticed. Woodlawn’s operational loss for 2021 was $755,000, but the financial headwinds for us and other hospitals picked up speed last year, leaving us with an estimated loss for 2022 of $6.3 million. Our goal for 2023 is to lose just $1.5 million, even after our implementation of more than $3 million in cost reductions,” Fisher stated.

He went on to tell the committee what was attributing to the loss that hospitals especially rural facilities are facing.

“A large portion of this loss is attributed to the 3.2 million that will be owed to the State through the Hospital Assessment Fee. It’s great that more Hoosiers gained health care coverage through Medicaid and the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) during the pandemic, however, hospitals have increasingly had to pick up the bill. Indiana hospitals will pay a total of $1.5 billion in 2023 into the Hospital Assessment Fee (HAF) to fund these programs, and Woodlawn’s portion is growing quickly, rising from just over $2 million in 2020 to $3.2 million this year representing a 53% increase which is unsustainable.

Understanding the concept of matching funds, I would propose providing targeted HAF relief, increasing the state’s Medicaid base rates, eliminating or reducing the 28.5% that goes to the state, or redesigning the HAF program in a wholesale way in the future that recognizes the circumstances of rural hospitals and the unique challenges we face,” Fisher said.

He went on to explain what the future of rural communities could look like if these fees are not lowered.

“When rural hospitals close, it is the community that will suffer. Hoosiers will put off getting care and their health and quality of life will deteriorate. Maternity Deserts will become more widespread around this great state as well. Not to mention the economic impact to the state when industries want to relocate and pass by viable options due to not having a hospital. Rural hospital closers are a crisis for sure looming in Indiana.  Action needs to happen now before it’s too late!  Let’s work to saving our critical access hospitals by significantly reducing the Hospital assessment fees sooner rather than later,” he said.


Woodlawn Hospital is a rural healthcare system in Rochester, Indiana, working to earn the right to care for the communities it serves. For more information, contact Marketing Director, Khrista Boster, at or visit our website at