Reed Secures Extension of Medicare Dependent and Low Volume Hospital Funding
Tom Reed has secured a year-long, full extension of the Medicare Dependent and Low Volume Hospital programs otherwise set to expire on April 1st, 2014. Reed led the push in the House for an extension of the two rural hospital-focused programs, both included in the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 passed in the House Thursday.
“The Medicare Dependent and Low Volume Hospital program extensions protect seniors from seeing changes or interruptions in their care,” Reed said. “The year-long fix is critically important to rural areas like ours as it preserves Medicare payments to hospitals so that seniors are able to continue receiving services and uninterrupted care. Rural hospitals need to be protected from a funding loss that would have devastating consequences. Our seniors deserve this much-needed extension.”
Jones Memorial Hospital CEO Eva Benedict said of the rural hospital programs, “This is wonderful news. The year-long fix will support physicians and providers in this era of healthcare reform. Our providers are facing challenges and change in their practices. This agreement provides stability for the next twelve months. The Medicare Dependent and Low Volume hospital funding is critical for our hospital. We appreciate that Congressman Reed recognizes the crucial role Jones Memorial Hospital and all of our area’s rural hospitals play in the economic and physical health of our region.”
"Representative Reed continues to be a strong leader on the issue of aligning reimbursements with the operating needs of the hospitals in his district, and we greatly appreciate his efforts," said Robert K. Lambert, M.D., President and CEO of Arnot Health. "This extension will mean another year of stability for our Medicare rates, leaving the necessary time to permanently resolve the question of rates for organizations that serve rural and senior populations like ours moving forward."
Shirley P. Magaña, President of Guthrie Corning Hospital said, "Guthrie Corning Hospital appreciates the efforts of Senator Schumer and Congressman Reed, as each is the lead sponsor of legislation to extend the Medicare Dependent Hospital program. The Medicare Dependent Hospital Program is designed to help small rural hospitals deal with financial challenges that larger more urban facilities don’t face, without the extension Guthrie Corning Hospital would lose $380,000 in funding."
Reed has been the lead in the House on legislation to extend the Medicare Dependent and Low Volume Hospital programs on a long-term basis. Under the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014, Reed’s proposed hospital programs will both be extended at full value for an additional year to ensure seniors’ access to care is not jeopardized.
New York’s 23rd Congressional District is home to three Medicare-dependent hospitals: Corning Hospital, Ira Davenport Memorial Hospital, and St. Joseph’s Hospital of Elmira and three low-volume hospitals: Jones Memorial Hospital, Ira Davenport, and St. James Mercy hospital.
Reed also fought for the need to increase ground ambulance services in rural areas, a provision that was included in the final package. The current Medicare payments to volunteer, non-profit and private ambulance service providers barely cover the cost of maintenance and equipment.
“With the much needed help for rural ambulance services, our rural communities will have greater certainty that in an emergency, they can get the help they need,” Reed continued. “It is of critical importance we support ambulance service providers and protect their Medicare payments so that they can continue delivering life-saving help.”
Without passage of the “doc fix” physicians would have suffered a 24 percent cut in Medicare reimbursement rates. Reed continues to push for a permanent fix that gives hospitals and patients long-term certainty.