More than 100 government relations experts, clinicians, and hospital administrators from members of America’s Essential Hospitals took action on Capitol Hill earlier this month as part of America’s Essential Hospitals Policy Assembly (formerly called the legislative event).
Staff from our member hospitals held more than 100 meetings with their legislators on April 2. During the meetings, they educated Congress on what defines an essential hospital and the key issues facing essential hospitals, including the following:
- protecting critical hospital funding streams such as Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payments
- ensuring health insurance marketplaces (exchanges) contract with essential hospitals as essential community providers
- preserving resources to train future physicians and health care professionals
Members also thanked Congress for further delaying cuts to Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments until fiscal year 2017 and for mandating an annual report on Medicaid DSH payments, which will help Congress make informed policy decisions on Medicaid DSH funding in the future. These provisions were included in legislation that created a one-year patch to the Medicare physician payment system.
The nearly 40 clinicians who attended Hill meetings highlighted how Medicaid DSH payments make a difference to them every day. They told stories of their patients who will continue to receive vital services that are supported by Medicaid DSH payments – services like trauma care and burn care. They explained that, without Medicaid DSH payments, their hospitals could be forced to cut back on these services that their communities rely upon.
In addition, members of America’s Essential Hospitals recognized members of Congress and congressional staffers who have a history of working in or closely with member hospitals. On April 1, nine members of Congress who worked at member hospitals were recognized as essential physician and clinician leaders.
On April 2, six congressional staff were honored with the inaugural Christine Capito Burch Award for congressional staff leadership because of their commitment to protecting vulnerable patients. Many of these staff members were instrumental in delaying the Medicaid DSH cuts and mandating the Medicaid DSH report.
Thanks to everyone for joining us! For more photos, visit our online photo album. Our next Policy Assembly event will take place Dec. 8-9 in Washington, DC. We look forward to seeing you!