Lawmakers eye fix for $15M Medicare error

Five Republican members of Congress have asked House leaders to include language in an upcoming spending bill that would address an error that caused 16 rural hospitals in upstate New York to owe Medicare $15 million.

U.S. Reps. Chris Collins, John Faso, John Katko, Elise Stefanik and Claudia Tenney, all from New York, proposed legislative text that would correct an error a Medicare contractor for New York and New England made while calculating the Volume Decrease Adjustment. The VDA is intended to cover the costs to maintain operations at Medicare-dependent hospitals and sole community hospitals that experience significant decreases in patient volume year over year due to uncontrollable circumstances.

The Medicare adjustment miscalculation affected 16 rural hospitals, which were forced to repay more than $15 million with an interest rate of over 9 percent.

"Rural hospitals are a vital source of healthcare for Upstate New Yorkers," said Mr. Faso. "Our proposed fix would ensure fairness and prevent hospitals from being forced to pay penalties for a mistake they did not make."

Ms. Stefanik also expressed concern about the repayment issue. "This 'clawback' threatens the financial stability of New York's sole community hospitals and Medicare dependent hospitals,” she said.

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