FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Statement attributable to:
Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH
President and CEO
America’s Essential Hospitals
WASHINGTON – We thank Congress and the president for their leadership in replacing the sustainable growth rate. Their actions will ensure greater stability for physician payments and avert damaging cuts to hospital funding.
We are particularly pleased that they recognize the threat to hospital access posed by Affordable Care Act cuts to disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments. The additional year delay in DSH cuts under this law will give policymakers needed time to reconcile these cuts with uneven coverage expansion and continuing high levels of uncompensated care. We must reconsider the DSH cuts in that context or risk losing the high level of service hospitals provide to underserved people and communities.
We also thank Congress and the president for extending funding for Medicaid Transitional Medical Assistance, the Medicare Qualified Individual Program, and federally qualified health centers. And while we hoped for a longer extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, we believe this law, on balance, will improve care access and quality for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries and bring greater stability to our nation’s health care system.
But even recognizing the good this law will accomplish, we remain deeply concerned by the DSH cuts it would require after 2020. Fully two-thirds of federal DSH dollars ultimately would go away under this legislation, creating an unsustainable future for our hospitals and their patients. More work is needed to avoid this outcome. We pledge to work with lawmakers to find solutions that will protect the well-being of the many people and communities our hospitals serve.
# # #
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 more than 250 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.