FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Statement attributable to:
Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH
President and CEO
America’s Essential Hospitals
WASHINGTON — We are deeply disappointed by today’s final rule on the 2018 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS), which aggravates already damaging cuts to support for clinics and other outpatient services in the nation’s most underserved communities.
In these health care deserts, essential hospitals work to overcome practitioner shortages by extending primary and specialty care services to off-campus clinics in their communities. But today’s final rule puts expansion of services further out of reach for these communities and threatens access to care where access is needed most.
We’re particularly troubled that these cuts for off-campus, provider-based departments—an additional 20 percent reduction to rates already cut in half by regulation last year—come without an analysis of how they might harm patient care. The cuts run counter to the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS’) goal of integrated, coordinated health care.
This change and yesterday’s Medicare Part B drug payment cut in the Outpatient Prospective Payment System final rule will combine to jeopardize the health of low-income Americans and others who struggle to access and pay for the care they and their families need.
CMS must reconsider this harmful policy and work with essential hospitals to ensure all people have access to affordable care where they live.
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About America’s Essential Hospitals
America’s Essential Hospitals is the leading association and champion for hospitals and health systems dedicated to high-quality care for all, including the most vulnerable. Since 1981, America’s Essential Hospitals has initiated, advanced, and preserved programs and policies that help these hospitals ensure access to care. We support members with advocacy, policy development, research, and education.
Our 325 members are vital to their communities, providing primary care through trauma care, disaster response, health professional training, research, public health programs, and other services. They innovate and adapt to lead the broader health care community toward more effective and efficient care.