With automatic spending reductions set to begin Friday, hospital leaders today convened on Capitol Hill to express concern about the looming Medicare cuts and urge their legislators to protect payments for hospital care. Participating in the AHA Advocacy Day in person and via webcast, hospital leaders were briefed on the latest developments related to the Budget Control Act sequester, which would cut Medicare payments by 2% across the board effective April 1, and other approaching fiscal deadlines. AHA has expressed concern about the sequester's impact on hospitals, as well as proposals that would delay or replace certain parts of the sequester or reduce the deficit by further reducing Medicare or Medicaid payments to providers. "We can't take any more cuts to hospital payments," AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock told participants. After the briefing, hospital leaders met with lawmakers and their staffs to urge support for alternatives that represent real solutions to the deficit, not cuts that could jeopardize access to patient care.