FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
America’s Essential Hospital applauds Reps. Pat Tiberi (R-OH) and Jim McDermott (D-WA) for introducing H.R. 5273, the Helping Hospitals Improve Patient Care Act. The legislation includes two critical changes that would improve the ability of essential hospitals to care for vulnerable patients.
First, the bill would amend the Medicare Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) to level the playing field for hospitals that are disproportionately penalized by the program: those that care for large numbers of low-income and other disadvantaged patients. This provision – modeled on H.R. 1343, the Establishing Beneficiary Equity in the Hospital Readmission Program Act, sponsored by Reps. Jim Renacci (R-OH) and Eliot Engel (D-NY) – would risk adjust the HRRP to increase precision in performance measurement and deliver more accurate information to providers, payers, and the public.
Second, the bill would allow hospitals that were in the process of constructing off-campus outpatient departments as of November 2015 to bill Medicare at the hospital outpatient department rate. While this takes an important step toward shoring up access to care for vulnerable patients, America’s Essential Hospitals remains deeply concerned that the Medicare outpatient department payment cuts ultimately will erode access in underserved communities. We strongly urge the Committee on Ways and Means and Congress overall to further change the law to ensure all patients have access to care when and where they need it.
America’s Essential Hospitals is grateful to Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady (R-TX) for moving to immediately mark up H.R. 5273, and we urge the committee to approve the legislation.
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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 275 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. Learn more at essentialhospitals.org.