fah hospital policy blog

Perspectives on health policy affecting America’s hospitals and the patients we serve.

Category Archives: hearings

Ways and Means Subcommittee Hearing to Focus on Improving Competition in Medicare

May 19, 2015 | FAH Hospital Policy Blog Team

Category: Affordable Care Act, Hearings, Legislation, Medicare

This morning, the House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing to discuss ideas about competition in Medicare titled “Improving Competition in Medicare: Removing Moratoria and Expanding Access.” Rich Umbdenstock, President and CEO of The American Hospital Association, will be offering testimony at today’s hearing taking place at 10:00 am.

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FAH Submits Public Comments on 21st Century Cures Act

May 14, 2015 | FAH Hospital Policy Blog Team

Category: Hearings, HIT, Legislation

This morning, the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee will hold a markup of the 21st Century Cures Act. The FAH submitted detailed comments ahead of the hearing set to begin at 10 am. Lawmakers have been working on the 21st Century Cures initiative for nearly a year, discussing policy issues with many industry and consumer stakeholders. The draft aims to speed access to breakthrough cures for millions of Americans.

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Hospital Community to Congressional Committees: Reject Hospital Cuts

February 04, 2015 | FAH Hospital Policy Blog Team

Category: Hearings, Legislation, Medicare

Over the next several weeks, the Congress must resolve the looming cut to the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) for physician payments. The hospital community strongly supports its physician partners and encourages policymakers to come together to find a permanent solution. However, any Medicare physician payment fix must recognize the impact further hospital cuts would have on our patients, caregivers and the communities we serve. That is why today the FAH joined with several leading hospital and health systems organizations in co-signing a letter to the Senate Finance Committee, the House Ways and Means Committee, and the House Energy and Commerce committee, urging policymakers to reject any hospital Medicare cuts intended as a pay-for to the SGR.

This letter acknowledges and thanks the Committees for their renewed efforts in 2015 to develop a permanent solution to the SGR, which determines Medicare payments to physicians. The letter also outlines for policymakers the current—and crucial —fiscal state of affairs facing America’s hospitals, and the impact of the annual hunt for short-term patches to the SGR:

“For too long, the annual action of “patching” the SGR has resulted in postponement of a sustainable and predictable remedy, escalated the budgetary cost of an eventual solution and resulted in significant and damaging Medicare and Medicaid cuts to hospitals. These cuts have contributed in part to the nearly $122 billion in reductions imposed on hospitals since 2010.”

It also outlines a key concern for hospitals as policymakers seek doc fix offsets and their effect on our patients.

“…it is unsustainable and unacceptable for hospitals to take on any further financial burden in order for this to be accomplished. We urge the committees to recognize the operational realities facing community hospitals.”

“Eliminating planned cuts to physicians in Medicare is aimed at ensuring access to care for our nation’s Medicare beneficiaries. Simultaneously cutting hospital payments defeats this purpose by raising new barriers to access. We urge you to oppose any additional hospital Medicare and Medicaid cuts to offset the cost of resolving the SGR.”

This letter echoes sentiments expressed by the FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn in a letter submitted earlier this week to the Budget Committee leadership in both Congressional chambers on the FY2016 budget.

Today, voices of hospitals and health systems across the country join together, and ask the Senate Finance Committee, during its hearing with HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell, to take heed of the harsh fiscal reality facing hospitals. Historically low -9% Medicare margins and $122 billion in cuts since 2010 are pushing hospitals to the brink, and risking seniors’ access to care.

We must pursue sound policies that support hospitals and protect our patients’ ability to receive the care they need. These two notions are not mutually exclusive. We can work towards a permanent SGR solution without burdening other facets of hospital care with additional cuts.

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The FAH Letter to Budget Chairs: Reject All Hospital Cuts in President Obama’s FY 2016 Budget

February 02, 2015 | Chip Kahn

Category: Financing, Hearings, Medicare

Today, on behalf of the FAH and our more than 1,000 member hospitals, I sent a letter to the Budget committee leadership in both chambers asking them to reject all hospital cuts contained in the Administration’s FY2016 budget. Since 2010, $122 billion in cumulative cuts have been imposed on hospitals. The net effect of this budget is to add to that total. Further cuts would threaten patient access to care, especially for America’s seniors, reduce critical service lines, and disrupt key economic engines in communities throughout the country.

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