President and CEO
American Hospital Association
July 30, 2010
America's hospitals strongly disagree with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' final inpatient rule. The rule cuts billions of dollars from the health care system at a time when patients are sicker, more people are losing coverage due to the economic downturn and hospitals are dealing with significant changes contained in the health reform bill. The changes also will have unintended consequences; hospitals have been an economic mainstay during the recession, but the cuts create real potential to harm hospitals' ability to provide jobs.
In issuing its final rule, CMS failed to listen to concerns from members of Congress. A bipartisan majority of senators and representatives had expressed to CMS that the rule's coding offset would hurt their communities' ability to access health care. CMS also failed to acknowledge independent studies that show CMS' methodology does not take into account what we all know: hospital patients are increasingly sicker.
As the nation celebrates the 45th anniversary of the Medicare program, the goal should be to protect access to care for millions of seniors across the country. Today's rule moves away from that goal. America's hospitals will continue to work with Congress to ensure the program remains strong so seniors can access the care they need and deserve.
The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the improvement of health in their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which includes more than 5,000 member hospitals, health systems and other health care organizations, and 38,000 individual members. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends.