In a taped video message delivered to the annual meeting, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) today told AHA members he shares their concerns about “site-neutral” reimbursements for off-campus hospital outpatient departments and is “working to ensure that you are appropriately paid for the services you provide – especially when we should be incentivizing outpatient care as many of you have been investing in for years.” Hospitals seek congressional support for flexible regulations that protect patients’ access to care as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services prepares to implement Section 603 of the 2015 Bipartisan Budget Act, which will reduce reimbursement for certain HOPD services. “I am there with you,” Schumer said. He also cited his sponsorship, with Sens. Bill Nelson, (D-FL), and Harry Reid, (D-NV), of the AHA-backed Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act (S. 1148), which would increase the number of Medicare-funded residency positions at teaching hospitals by 15,000 over five years. “Graduate Medical Education is so important to continuing the pipeline of new doctors,” said Schumer, noting the nation faces a serious physician shortage that some experts estimate could be as many as 130,000 doctors by 2025.

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