AHA: Congress Must Extend Expiring Medicare Payment Provisions

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Testifying before the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, the American Hospital Association urged Congress to extend the expiring Medicare provider payment provisions that help hospitals with the area wage index, according to an AHA transcript (pdf).

Section 508 of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 allows certain qualifying hospitals to receive wage index reclassifications and assignments they otherwise would not be eligible to receive, and it is scheduled to expire on Oct. 1.

AHA President and CEO Richard Umbdenstock said the Section 508 program provides "critical help to hospitals with wages that are not representative of their area." He added that small rural hospitals and "sole community" providers improve access to care in rural areas but need the payment provision extended to help cope with their low volumes.

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