When people see the blue and white “H” symbol, they think of healing, hope and health. Hospitals and health systems provide care to all who need it, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

While the commitment to caring never wavers, many hospitals and health systems are experiencing significant financial challenges. In addition, a number of legislative proposals being considered by Congress would exacerbate these financial strains and jeopardize access to vital services and programs for patients.

For example, the House Energy and Commerce Committee recently advanced legislation that would enact additional site-neutral payment policies that would cut payments to hospitals by billions of dollars and impose onerous reporting requirements on hospitals participating in the 340B Drug Pricing Program. Lawmakers also are holding hearings to examine hospitals’ tax-exempt status and health care consolidation, including a hearing yesterday in the Senate Committee on Finance.

For months, AHA has been pushing back against these flawed proposals, policies and rhetoric. This week we continued those efforts with more than 200 hospital and health system leaders participating in an Advocacy Day briefing and then taking the field’s message directly to lawmakers and their staff on Capitol Hill. We also released new reports and tools to bolster our position that you can use in your own advocacy efforts.

  • Site-neutral infographic. The infographic shows how legislative proposals would: impose billions of dollars in additional site-neutral payment reductions to services provided in hospital outpatient departments while failing to account for the fundamental differences between HOPDs and other ambulatory care sites; exacerbate Medicare’s chronic failure to cover the cost of care; and jeopardize beneficiary access to essential care and services.
  • Report on physician practice acquisitions. This report  examines how physicians are increasingly turning to hospitals, health systems and other organizations for financial security, and to focus more on clinical care and less on the administrative burdens and cost concerns of managing their own practice. Physicians also say health insurer policies and practices have had a significant impact on their decision to seek employment outside of their own practice. <.ul>

We know that these issues are not going away anytime soon, and we will keep educating legislators about the negative impact and consequences of these policies in our efforts to oppose them. At the same time, we’re continuing to advocate for proposals that would provide additional resources and support to hospitals and health systems. These include:

  • Boosting Medicare payments. We are urging the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to take a number of actions to increase payments for hospitals for FY 2024, as well as use its authority to make a retrospective adjustment for FY 2022.
     
  • SAVE Act. We are urging the passage of bipartisan legislation that would give health care workers the same legal protections against assault and intimidation that flight crews and airport workers have under federal law. The bill also would provide funding for violence prevention training programs, coordination with state and local law enforcement, and physical plant improvements, such as metal detectors and panic buttons.
     
  • Delay Medicaid DSH cuts. We continue to urge Congress to pass bipartisan legislation to delay for two years $8 billion in annual Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital payment reductions scheduled to begin in October.

While we’ll be working hard on these issues and many others throughout the next few months, we need you to continue to weigh in with your lawmakers too. You are the most effective advocate with your representatives and senators. Please use our advocacy resources to help you in conversations with your lawmakers and urge them to support hospitals and preserve access to care for patients and communities.

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