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Statement on 2019 Outpatient Prospective Payment System Proposed Rule

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Statement attributable to:
Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH
President and CEO
America’s Essential Hospitals

WASHINGTON—Today’s proposed rule for Medicare outpatient payments would make bad policies worse, impose draconian new cuts that jeopardize health care access for millions of vulnerable Americans, and undermine the foundation of support for our nation’s health care safety net.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) frames its proposals as empowering patients and providing more affordable choices and options. But we believe these proposals only would create road blocks to care in communities across the country — communities that already struggle with care shortages and severe economic and social challenges.

In particular, extending reimbursement cuts for 340B Drug Pricing Program purchases to additional hospital outpatient clinics doubles down on a policy that drains vitally needed support from hospitals that operate with thin or negative margins. Adding to these hospitals’ financial woes — and likely to worsen care disparities in already underserved communities — are $610 million in arbitrary payment cuts for clinic visits. CMS proposes more cuts for new services, erecting yet another barrier to access.

These proposals would hurt the patients and hospitals least able to afford this wrongheaded approach to cost savings. America’s Essential Hospitals calls on CMS to withdraw these proposals and instead offer up policies that protect and support vulnerable patients and their essential hospitals.

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About America’s Essential Hospitals
America’s Essential Hospitals is the leading champion for hospitals and health systems dedicated to high-quality care for all, including the most vulnerable. We support our more than 325 members with advocacy, policy development, research, and education. Communities depend on essential hospitals to provide specialized, lifesaving services; train the health care workforce; advance public health and health equity; and coordinate care. Essential hospitals innovate and adapt to lead the way to more effective and efficient care. Learn more at essentialhospitals.org.

Contact:
Carl Graziano
cgraziano@essentialhospitals.org
202.585.0102

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