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New Medicare Bill Advances Commonsense, Fiscally Responsible Hospital Reforms

May 20, 2016

This week, Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Pat Tiberi (R-OH) and Ranking Member Jim McDermott (D-WA) introduced legislation that will help medical providers better treat the patients in their communities. Known as the Helping Hospitals Improve Patient Care Act (HIP-C), the bipartisan bill is a part of the Committee’s ongoing effort to promote greater access, increase choices, and improve the quality of health care.

As Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) explained:

“Our bipartisan legislation will empower health care plans and providers to deliver the high-quality, affordable care patients deserve. This legislation strikes the right balance between preserving site neutral payment policy and helping hospitals better transition to new payment policies. It also improves support for medical providers who treat low-income and cancer patients.

“By moving forward with these commonsense reforms in a fiscally responsible way, we’re also upholding our firm commitment to strengthening and preserving Medicare for today’s seniors and future generations.”

He added:

“Above all else, this bill will help ensure our communities have access to the medical care seniors rely on, including the sickest Medicare beneficiaries. I appreciate Chairman Tiberi and Ranking Member McDermott’s leadership in advancing such an important proposal, and I look forward to moving it through the Committee very soon.”

The Federation for American HospitalsAmerican Hospital Association, and Association of American Medical Colleges have already expressed their support for provisions in HIP-C that advance commonsense reforms such as:

  • Ensuring the implementation of new payment policies, such as site-neutral payments, do not unfairly affect hospitals that were in the process of building off-campus outpatient centers;
  • Improving support for hospitals that provide care to cancer patients by allowing them to continue operating under a separate payment system that better meets their needs;
  • Preventing hospitals serving low-income communities from being unfairly penalized in the Readmission Reduction Program by including a provision that takes into consideration socio-economic status;
  • Increasing access to care in rural communities by extending for five years the Rural Community Hospital Demonstration Program;
  • Protecting access to quality health care choices for seniors by improving transparency and preventing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services from abruptly and unilaterally terminating Medicare Advantage health care plans; and
  • Supporting physicians who treat patients in ambulatory surgical centers by exempting them from the Electronic Health Records Incentive Program and the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System.

For more information about the Helping Hospitals Improve Patient Care Act, click here.