The logjam broke this week when Congress passed a spending bill that included many important provisions that benefit the patients and communities we are privileged to serve each day.
Importantly, the bill delays for two years cuts to Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payments, which are critical to hospitals and health systems that care for our nation’s most vulnerable—children, the poor, the disabled, and the elderly. This delay will help ensure that hospitals can continue to deliver high-quality care for their patients.
We’re also encouraged that the bill extends critical rural programs—including the Medicare-dependent hospital program, the enhanced low-volume adjustment program, and the ambulance add-on payment program—that help keep vital care and service in rural America.
We’re pleased that the bill extends funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program for an additional four years, securing a decade of stability. Much-needed new funding to fight the opioid epidemic is included. We applaud that the bill repeals the Medicare payment caps for outpatient therapy services, gives hospitals relief and more flexibility on meaningful use, and increases the availability of telehealth services. The bill also includes several provisions to support chronic care management, and repeals the independent payment advisory board, which could have cut hospitals significantly.
Thank you for making your voices heard on these issues in Congress. Together, we made a real difference for our patients and our communities.