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AHA: Proposed cuts could cripple hospitals' ability to care for patients

June 15, 2009

The AHA today expressed "deep disappointment" over the administration's proposal to cut an additional $220 billion in hospital payments over the next 10 years, noting that hospitals already face as much as $38 billion in previously announced reform-related cuts and $41 billion in payment cuts under the proposed Medicare inpatient prospective payment system rule. "Additional cuts of this magnitude could severely jeopardize hospitals' ability to care for their patients and communities," AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock said in response to President Obama's call Saturday for another $313 billion in health care spending cuts. The proposal includes $110 billion in across-the-board "productivity adjustments" to Medicare payment increases and $106 billion in Disproportionate Share Hospital payment cuts. Umbdenstock said the DSH cuts overlook the critical role these programs play in supporting a broad range of services for hospitals' most vulnerable patients, while "productivity adjustments" make little sense for the health care field, where the focus should be on "ensuring that patients receive the right care at the right time in the right setting." While hospitals have committed to engage in reform activities that have associated cost savings, Umbdenstock said "reform must improve care for patients without crippling hospitals' ability to care for patients and communities."