INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – 7 of Indiana’s nine U.S. House members are urging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to reject proposed Medicare funding changes that they claim would hurt rural hospitals.

They claim Indiana’s 35 critical access hospitals are the backbone of the rural health care in Indiana, providing around-the-clock care and ensuring that rural residents are treated near their homes. The hospitals had more than 370,000 emergency room visits and almost 4,000 births last year.

IU Health president Daniel Evans says the changes would lower reimbursements and pre-empt individual state determinations about which small rural hospitals are critical providers of care.

Rep. Luke Messer said Monday that the letter he wrote also was signed by Reps. Susan Brooks, Larry Bucshon, Andre Carson, Todd Rokita, Marlin Stutzman, and Jackie Walorski.