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Socio-economic Status Provision Reduces Penalties for Hospitals Treating Vulnerable Patients

Washington, D.C., May 24, 2016AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD, issued the following statement on the passage of The Helping Hospitals Improve Patient Care Act of 2016 (H.R. 5273) by the House Ways and Means Committee:

“We applaud the House Ways and Means Committee for passing this important legislation that will help the nation’s medical schools and teaching hospitals provide care to all who need it.  

The AAMC has long championed the importance of risk-adjusting for the socio-economic status of patients in measures used to determine penalties under the Medicare Hospital Readmissions Reductions Program. Medical schools and teaching hospitals treat a larger proportion of our nation’s most medically complex and vulnerable patients, and the provisions in the hospital package passed by the committee will make sure that they are not unfairly penalized for factors outside their control.

Other parts of the legislation will help patients receive the care they need. Off-campus hospital outpatient departments are an important way for medical schools and teaching hospitals to provide improved access to care. By allowing teaching hospital outpatient departments that are under development to continue receiving outpatient payment rates, the new legislation levels the playing field for these facilities to provide care for all patients in their communities. 

We strongly urge the full House of Representatives to pass this package to help ensure that all Americans have access to the care they need.”

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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 comprise all 147 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 nearly 160,000 faculty members, 83,000 medical students, and 115,000 resident physicians. Additional information about the AAMC and its member medical schools and teaching hospitals is available at www.aamc.org.