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The Boston Globe

Metro

21 states take aim at Mass. hospitals’ Medicare windfall

Nantucket’s tiny hospital that funnels hundreds of millions to other institutions

WASHINGTON — Nestled on an island 30 miles out to sea, Nantucket Cottage Hospital is the only rural hospital in Massachusetts, as defined by the federal government. Its weathered cedar shingles and widow’s walk evoke the bygone era of its founding a century ago, when the hospital consisted of just three tiny cottages.

But the 19-bed hospital on the tony island, where the number of residents balloons from 10,000 to 50,000 each summer and the median home price hovers north of $1 million, has become a national symbol of inequity and political machinations in the way the federal government reimburses hospitals for treating Medicare patients.

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