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Congress urged to protect hospital payments and patients' access to care

November 29, 2012

About 200 hospital leaders came together on Capitol Hill today to send a strong message to lawmakers: Protect hospital payments and patients' access to care in any agreement aimed at addressing the fiscal cliff. "We need real, long-term solutions that strengthen our nation's health care system, not arbitrary cuts that threaten our ability to provide the care communities count on from us," said AHA Board Chair Teri Fontenot, president and CEO of Woman's Hospital in Baton Rouge, LA, who hosted the AHA Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. Hospital leaders in attendance and many more participating virtually via webcast received a briefing on the current legislative climate and hospitals' priority issues for the lame-duck session. Those priorities include extending several Medicare provisions that have expired or will by the end of the year, and opposing harmful cuts such as reductions in payments for evaluation and management services in hospital outpatient departments, another across-the-board retrospective coding adjustment, and reductions in the amount of allowable Medicaid state provider assessments. After the briefing, hospital leaders delivered their advocacy message directly to lawmakers and their staff in meetings on Capitol Hill.