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AAMC Joins Hospitals in Opposing Cuts to HOPDs

February 3, 2012—The AAMC joined eight other hospital associations—including the American Hospital Association (AHA)—on a Feb. 1 letter  to Congress opposing the House-passed cuts to hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs), reductions in Medicare “bad debt” payments, and the rebasing of Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments included in H.R. 3630.  The letter supports efforts to address the flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, but states that SGR reform should not be funded “by further cutting resources for the hospital services upon which America’s seniors depend.”

The hospitals’ letter points out that “[c]uts of this magnitude will mean fewer nurses, longer waits for emergency care, and decreased access to new treatments.” The hospitals also support “looking at the Overseas Contingency Operations funds,” as an option to pay for SGR reform “so long as those funds cover the entire cost of the SGR fix.” Finally, the letter states that while repealing the SGR to preserve access for Medicare beneficiaries is important, “[s]imultaneously cutting hospital payments defeats the purpose, by raising new barriers to access.”

Similarly, the AAMC sent a letter  to the House-Senate conference committee on H.R. 3630 that warns cuts to teaching hospital HOPDs could greatly affect Medicare beneficiaries access to care, and “[i]mplementing the proposed HOPD cuts will have a disproportionate impact on America’s teaching hospitals, physicians who work in these settings, and the patients they serve” [see Washington Highlights, Jan. 20].

The conference committee Feb. 1-2 convened two meetings to debate the provisions included in H.R. 3630. The committee agreed on the need to address the SGR in some fashion, but focused on extending the payroll tax holiday, unemployment benefits, and other non-health riders included in the House bill.


Len Marquez
Director, Government Relations
Telephone: 202-862-6281


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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.

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Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806