AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) Executive Vice President Atul Grover, MD, PhD, issued the following statement on legislation passed by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce that would eliminate cuts to Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments for two years, reauthorize the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) for three years, reauthorize Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) workforce programs and funding, and address surprise billing:
“The House Energy and Commerce Committee took an important step forward today on numerous bipartisan priorities in support of patients. We thank the committee for strengthening the health care safety net that cares for the most vulnerable patients by eliminating the scheduled Medicaid DSH cuts for FY 2020 and 2021 and reducing the cuts in FY 2022. Likewise, the committee’s action to reauthorize the Title VII health professions workforce development programs and to continue funding for the National Health Service Corps and teaching health centers will promote a culturally competent workforce that can better care for a growing and aging patient population, including those in underserved areas. We also are grateful that the committee advanced legislation to continue generating research through PCORI that better informs patient and provider decision making, and we hope to continue working with lawmakers to secure a full 10-year renewal of the institute’s important work.
We share the committee’s commitment to addressing surprise medical bills, particularly holding patients financially harmless. We appreciate that the committee amended its original proposal by including an independent dispute resolution option in response to the concerns raised by stakeholders. Additionally, we hope to continue this dialogue to ensure that the final legislation fully avoids any unintended consequences that could result from setting payment rates in statute. Academic medical centers operate the vast majority of all NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, Level 1 trauma centers, and burn unit beds. They also care for the most complex and vulnerable patients while conducting cutting-edge research and training physicians and other health professionals. Because of higher mission-related costs at these institutions, setting payment rates in legislation unintentionally could result in patients ultimately losing access to the care they need.
As the legislative process moves forward, the AAMC stands ready to work with lawmakers to advance policies that will preserve patient access to these critical services and toward our mutual goal of improving the health of all.”
The Association of American Medical Colleges is a not-for-profit association dedicated to transforming health care through innovative medical education, cutting-edge patient care, and groundbreaking medical research. Its members are all 154 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, including 51 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and more than 80 academic societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC serves the leaders of America’s medical schools and teaching hospitals and their more than 173,000 full-time faculty members, 89,000 medical students, 129,000 resident physicians, and more than 60,000 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the biomedical sciences.