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Wednesday, March 19th 2003

The Honorable Nancy Johnson
Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health
U.S. House of Representatives
1106 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Johnson:

On behalf of the American Hospital Association, we are writing to urge passage of H.R.810, "The Medicare Regulatory and Contracting Reform Act of 2003."  This legislation affords needed relief to health care providers by addressing several of the concerns hospitals and other health care providers have raised about regulatory burden under the Medicare program.

We are pleased to see the inclusion of such important provisions as revising the Medicare Secondary Payor requirements; prohibiting the inclusion of new provisions in final regulations that are not a "logical outgrowth" of the proposed rulemaking; and barring retroactive application of substantive changes in regulations in certain cases.  The legislation also includes important EMTALA provisions, including requiring fiscal intermediaries to judge the reasonableness of services furnished in hospital emergency departments based on a beneficiary's presenting symptoms; notifying providers when EMTALA investigations are closed; and establishing an EMTALA task force to advise the Secretary on EMTALA requirements.  These are good examples of regulatory relief providers have been seeking to better address the needs of our Medicare patients.

We commend you for your efforts to reduce the paperwork burden providers face so that more of our time and energy can be devoted to providing quality care to our patients.  We look forward to working with you and your colleagues in the future to identify additional areas where regulatory relief is needed.


Rick Pollack
Executive Vice President


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