Reed Brings District Rural Hospital Concerns before Secretary Sebelius
Tom Reed ensured that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius heard the voices of rural hospitals during a recent hearing of the Ways and Means Committee. Reed is hearing from hospitals throughout the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes on the damaging hits they are taking as a result of ongoing cuts from Obamacare and reimbursement rates cuts included in the White House’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget proposal.
“The Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rate cuts that the Administration is imposing are hurting our frontline rural hospitals and preventing access to care,” Reed said. “It’s important the Secretary hears our rural hospital concerns and knows the policies the Administration supports is putting rural hospitals at risk.”
Reed specifically highlighted two hospitals in the district during the hearing – St. James Mercy in Steuben County and Lake Shore Hospital in Chautauqua County – as examples of local hospitals struggling under the current health care landscape.
“So many of our local hospitals are doing great work to innovate and turn around their models for care delivery, like St. James Mercy Hospital in Hornell and yet the Administration is making that task much more complicated with its reimbursement rate cuts,” Reed continued. “Instead of caring for rural hospitals and helping them make a comeback, the Administration is putting up roadblocks, increasing costs and jeopardizing critical access to care.”
Jennifer Sullivan, Interim President and CEO of St. James Mercy Hospital said, "Congressman Reed has highlighted for the Secretary of HHS and his colleagues on the powerful Ways and Means Committee the challenges facing rural hospitals. St James Mercy Hospital faces $15 million in cuts already on the books over the next ten years. We are grateful the Congressman is on Capitol Hill, fighting against any new proposal to deepen those cuts while pushing to extend rural hospital programs, like the Medicare Low Volume Program, that benefit our community."
Reed’s comments for Secretary Sebelius came during a Ways and Means Committee hearing on the President’s budget proposals for the Department of Health and Human Services for Fiscal Year 2015. A clip of the hearing can be found here.