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Press Release

Statement on 'Doc Fix' and 'Extenders'

Rich Umbdenstock
President and CEO
American Hospital Association

Today's action by Congress is good news for seniors, physicians, and hospitals. The extension of a one-year "doc fix" will ensure that physicians receive adequate payment for the care they provide to seniors.

Congress also extended key Medicare policies that without action could have restricted access for many patients and communities in rural and other underserved areas.  Among the bill's hospital Medicare "extenders" are measures that provide an exceptions process for Medicare therapy caps, extend the outpatient "hold harmless" payment provision, restore to children's hospitals discounts for "orphan drugs" under the 340B drug discount program and renew the Section 508 reclassification program, which allows hospitals to seek improvements in their Medicare wage index. Other rural provisions that were included are: the technical component of certain physician pathology services, reimbursement raises for ambulance services and reasonable cost payments for clinical diagnostic laboratory tests in rural areas.  These important provisions will go a long way to ensuring access to needed services.

Over the next year, we will continue to work with Congress to find a permanent solution to physician payment problem, while remaining vigilant against cuts that could be harmful to other parts of the health care system. 

About the AHA

The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care and 43,000 individual members. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA website at www.aha.org.

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