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Friday, October 17th 2003

The Honorable Tom Allen
United States House of Representatives
1717 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Congressman Allen:

On behalf of the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) nearly 5,000 member hospitals, health care systems, networks and other providers of care, I am writing to express our support for your bill, the Medicaid Psychiatric Hospital Fairness Act of 2003.

The Emergency Medical and Labor Treatment Act (EMTALA) requires hospitals to stabilize patients in an emergency medical condition including psychiatric hospitals.  At the same time the Medicaid program, through the Institution for Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion, prevents non-public psychiatric hospitals from receiving Medicaid reimbursement for Medicaid patients between the ages of 21-64 that require stabilization. These hospitals are burdened with an unfunded mandate in fulfilling their EMTALA obligations for this patient population.

Your legislation will allow non-public psychiatric hospitals to receive appropriate reimbursement for Medicaid beneficiaries between the ages of 21-64 who require emergency treatment and stabilization as required by EMTALA.  This will relieve overcrowding in emergency departments and provide the appropriate care these patients deserve in a more timely manner.

Thank you for addressing this important issue.  We support the Medicaid Psychiatric Fairness Act of 2003 and look forward to working with you and your colleagues to ensure swift passage of this legislation.


Rick Pollack
Executive Vice President

cc:  The Honorable Kent Conrad
      The Honorable Jim McCrery
      The Honorable Olympia Snowe


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