Hospitals avoid $4B payment cut — for now

The House on Dec. 17 approved a year-end spending deal that delays $4 billion in cuts to Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital payments.  

The nearly $4 trillion spending deal, which is now headed to the Senate, delays the DSH payment cuts about five months. Though hospital groups are pleased with the delay, they are also seeking a longer-term solution.

"Today's House vote on a spending package and Senate support will avert the harm sure to result from a $4 billion payment cut for hospitals that care for millions of low-income people," Beth Feldpush, DrPh, senior vice president of policy and advocacy for America's Essential Hospitals, said in a Dec. 17 release. "Now, we must turn to longer-term relief for essential hospitals and their patients."

America's Essential Hospitals is urging Congress to repeal at least two years of Medicaid DSH cuts, a move that has bipartisan support, according to Dr. Feldpush.

The Association of American Medical Colleges is also asking Congress to take action.

"The uncertainty caused by these looming cuts does a disservice to patients, as it puts safety net hospitals that care for large numbers of Medicaid patients in limbo," Association of American Medical Colleges President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD, said in a Dec. 16 release. "We strongly encourage Congress to resolve these devastating cuts prior to May 22, 2020, when they are scheduled to go into effect."

More articles on healthcare finance:

29 hospital closures, state by state
How 2 former debt collectors helped erase $1B in medical bills
Texas hospital overbilled Medicare by $10.6M, OIG says

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