safety-net hospitals

Proposal Would Establish New “Essential Health System” Designation

The newly proposed “Reinforcing Essential Health Systems for Communities Act” would create a new federal hospital designation that would create a mechanism for directing more federal resources to safety-net hospitals that care for more low-income and uninsured patients. The bipartisan bill, sponsored by Representatives Lori Trahan (D-MA) and David Valadao (R-CA), would, according to Rep. Trahan, … provide federal lawmakers with the avenues necessary to target funding and resources to these critical facilities – just as we’ve done with other types of hospitals that serve specific populations or regions. Hospitals would qualify for “essential health system” status by meeting one [...]

MedPAC Meets, Makes 2025 Payment Recommendations

2025 Medicare payments led the agenda at last week’s meeting of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission. After hearing presentations on the various Medicare payment systems and discussing the adequacy of current Medicare reimbursement, MedPAC’s commissioners provisionally endorses the following changes in 2025 Medicare payments. Inpatient and outpatient services – an update provided for in current law plus 1.5 percent and a shift to a safety-net index policy that would pay safety-net hospitals another $4 billion. Physicians and other health professionals – an increase of 50 percent of the Medicare economic index and introduction of an add-on payment for services provided [...]

MACPAC Proposes New Approach to Helping Safety-Net Hospitals

To improve “…the relationship between total state and federal DSH [Medicaid disproportionate share] funding and the number of non-elderly low-income individuals in a state,” the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission has urged Congress to direct the Department of Health and Human Services to change how it calculates Medicaid DSH allotments to the states. This year MACPAC devotes a significant portion of its annual report to Congress to payment policy for safety-net hospitals, and in summarizing its proposal it writes that: In order to reduce the wide variation in state disproportionate share hospital (DSH) allotments based on historical spending, [...]

Hospitals Seek Delay in Medicaid DSH Cuts

“Delay upcoming cuts in Medicaid DSH payments” is the message hospitals delivered to Congress recently in response to a reduction of $8 billion in Medicaid disproportionate share cuts scheduled to take effect on October 1. The cuts, mandated by the Affordable Care Act, have been delayed by Congress on several occasions over the years in response to the belief that far more people remain uninsured than was anticipated when the 2010 health care reform law was adopted.  According to proponents of the delay, the safety-net hospitals that receive Medicaid DSH payments continue to provide free care to significant numbers of [...]

MedPAC Considers 2023 Medicare Rates at December Meeting

The government agency that advises Congress on Medicare payment matters met publicly in Washington, D.C. last week. During the virtual meeting, members of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission discussed and debated: Assessing payment adequacy and updating payments: hospital inpatient and outpatient services and supporting Medicare safety-net hospitals – commissioners discussed a proposal to increase FY 2024 rates one percentage point more than current law prescribes.  Commissioners also discussed additional steps they might take to provide better support to safety-net hospitals, which they described as “…hospitals with high shares of low-income Medicare patients.” Status report: ambulatory surgical center services. Assessing payment [...]

Hospitals Feeling the Pain of Loss of Pandemic Aid

The end of some forms of federal COVID-19 financial assistance is causing financial pain for some hospitals – especially safety-net hospitals that care for especially large numbers of uninsured patients. During the pandemic, the federal government reimbursed hospitals for testing, vaccinating, and treating uninsured COVID patients; now it does not. During the pandemic, some people, including many who are uninsured, put off seeking to address their health problems because they feared going to a hospital and encountering the highly contagious virus.  Now, these individuals are showing up at hospitals’ doors seeking care, have no insurance, their medical problems have grown [...]

2022-05-09T13:00:02+00:00May 9, 2022|COVID-19, hospitals|

Federal Health Policy Update for Monday, December 6

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government as of 2:45 p.m. on Monday, December 6.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents. The White House The White House has published a plan outlining the steps the administration will take to combat the delta and omicron variants of COVID-19 in the coming months. The major components of this plan are boosters for all adults, vaccinations for children, expanded free home testing, stronger public health protocols for international travel, workplace protections, rapid response teams to help battle rising cases, and supplying treatment [...]

Federal Health Policy Update for Wednesday, May 19

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government as of 2:15 p.m. on Wednesday, May 19.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents. NASH Advocacy NASH has written to all members of Congress urging them to contact Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra about directing more of its remaining CARES Act Provider Relief Fund money to private safety-net hospitals to help them serve their diverse, predominantly low-income communities during the COVID-19 emergency.  Go here to see NASH’s message to Congress. The White House COVID-19 The White House has posted a [...]

Medicaid Work Requirements on the Way Out?

Medicaid work requirements appear to be going away in the wake of the Supreme Court agreeing to a Biden administration request to postpone arguments in a case brought by the Trump administration seeking to reverse previous court rulings blocking implementation of such requirements. To date, 12 states have received federal approval to implement Medicaid work requirements although only one such effort, in Arkansas, ever got off the ground.  All of the efforts eventually stalled in the face of legal challenges and administrative obstacles.  Upon taking office, the Biden administration informed the 12 states that it was considering withdrawing their approvals [...]

2021-03-16T13:00:38+00:00March 16, 2021|Medicaid, Medicaid regulations|

2019 Change in Public Charge Rule to Disappear

Shortly after taking office the Biden administration stopped enforcing 2019 changes in the so-called public charge rule and now the Supreme Court has agreed to a Justice Department request to dismiss an upcoming case challenging that rule. The public charge rule, as updated in 2019, calls for all legal immigrants enrolled in Medicaid and certain other safety-net programs to be designated public charges and denied access to permanent U.S. residency and green card status.  Hospitals feared that the revised rule would have a chilling effect on the willingness of some legal citizens and legal non-citizens to seek out government health [...]

2021-03-16T06:00:01+00:00March 16, 2021|Medicaid|
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