DSH cuts could receive a reprieve

Hundreds of hospitals bracing for cuts in the federal disproportionate share program have gotten a reprieve from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, reported Kaiser Health News.

CMS has issued a proposed rule that would provide relief to hospitals in states that have either declined to participate in Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act or whose Legislatures have yet to approve an expansion. Currently, 26 states are in this category. The first round of DSH cuts--$500 million--were to go into effect this fall.

Instead of across-the-board cuts, CMS has proposed that DSH funding be based in part on the state's number of uninsured residents, according Kaiser. CMS is also seeking to protect state DSH funds used to increase coverage as part of demonstration project waivers, according to Kaiser Health News.

In addition to the interim rule, a bill has been introduced in Congress that would delay all DSH cuts for two years, AHA News Now reported.

"In a time of increased financial pressures and uncertainty, maintaining vital DSH payments will help ensure that hospitals will be able to provide care for their patients and communities. We look forward to working with Congress to advance this important legislation," American Hospital Association Executive Vice President Rick Pollack said in a statement.

To learn more:
- read the Kaiser Health News article
- read the AHA News Now article
- read the proposed rule (.pdf)
- read the AHA statement (.pdf)