Executive Vice President
American Hospital Association
August 2, 2019
America’s hospitals and health systems are pleased that CMS has increased the new technology add-on payment rate, including for CAR-T therapies. Hospitals and health systems have worked to ensure patients have access to these life-saving treatments, and this policy will provide some much needed short-term relief. However, further solutions must be put forth to address the long-term sustainability of providing these expensive therapies.
In addition, we are pleased that CMS did not finalize its proposed changes to the patient severity classifications, which did not accurately reflect the resources required in caring for patients, were confusing for stakeholders and would have been difficult to implement.
At the same time, we are concerned that CMS did not include our recommendation that the proposed area wage index policy designed to help certain low-wage rural hospitals be non-budget neutral. While we support improving the wage index values for many struggling rural hospitals, this should not be done by penalizing all hospitals, especially when Medicare already pays far less than the cost of providing care. That’s why we strongly urged the agency to use its existing statutory authority to increase the wage index in a non-budget neutral manner.
Colin Milligan, (202) 638-5491
Marie Johnson, (202) 626-2351