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Wednesday, May 22nd 2002

The Honorable Jeff Bingaman
United States Senate
703 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Bingaman:

On behalf of our nearly 5,000 hospital, health care system, network and other health care provider members, the American Hospital Association is writing to express our strong support for the Medicare Hospital Outpatient Fair Payment Act of 2002 that you have introduced with Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME). We believe this bill is an essential component to ensuring that America's Medicare patients receive emergency care and outpatient services, and have equal access to the newest medical technologies.

As hospital care continues to shift to the outpatient setting, it is imperative that Congress begins to address the complex operational issues and payment inequities created by the outpatient prospective payment system (OPPS). While the OPPS was created to give providers incentives to deliver quality care in an efficient manner, outpatient payment rates were set at a level substantially below the costs hospitals incur caring for Medicare patients. Medicare currently pays hospitals only 84 cents for every dollar of outpatient care provided.

Your comprehensive legislation would address problems in the OPPS by extending and enhancing provisions that ensure patient care is not disrupted as hospitals transition into OPPS. We applaud your leadership on this important issue and support swift enactment of this legislation. We look forward to working with you further on this issue.


Rick Pollack
Executive Vice President
American Hospital Association

This letter was also sent to The Honorable Olympia Snowe, US Senate

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