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July 20, 2011 News Headlines

HANYS’ Federal Advocacy Proceeds as Debt Ceiling Negotiations Continue

Medicare and Medicaid are highly vulnerable as the White House and congressional leaders continue to work to reach a deal to increase the federal debt ceiling and reduce the deficit. Negotiations remain tense, with new or revamped proposals from various factions like the so-called Senate “Gang of Six” emerging frequently, adding to the complexity of the debate.

The Gang of Six’s proposal would call for $3.7 trillion in deficit reduction and increase tax revenue by $1 trillion over ten years. While details are few, the plan would fund a $300 billion, ten-year Medicare physician fee schedule fix by cuts to hospitals and other health care providers and programs, on top of an additional $200 billion or more from health care providers and programs.  

As the negotiations continue with the stakes high for health care providers and their patients, HANYS continues to urge all members of the New York State Congressional Delegation to press their leadership and the White House to protect Medicare reimbursement to hospitals and health systems and federal support for the Medicaid program in the negotiations.

Many members of the New York State Congressional Delegation on both sides of the aisle have gone on record with congressional leadership and the White House against cuts to hospitals and health systems.  HANYS is grateful for the leadership shown by the New York State Congressional Delegation in supporting hospitals and health systems.

Senators Charles Schumer (D) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D) continue to fight to protect hospitals and health systems in the U.S. Senate. Each has been working with leaders of their caucus and communicating directly with the White House on the need to protect Medicare and Medicaid. 

Earlier this week, Representative Michael Grimm (R-Staten Island) was joined by Representatives Chris Gibson (R-Kinderhook), Richard Hanna (R-Utica), and Nan Hayworth, M.D. (R-Bedford Hills) in sending a strong letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) urging that hospitals and health systems be protected, as cuts would endanger patient access to critical services, harm the economy, and reduce the number of physicians trained in the state, who serve patients across the nation.

Representative Eliot Engel (D-Bronx) wrote a letter signed by a majority of New York’s Democratic Delegation to the President, Speaker Boehner, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) opposing Medicare cuts to hospitals and health systems and cuts to Medicaid.  

The following Delegation members signed the Engel letter, indicating that they would not support any debt ceiling/deficit reduction package that included Medicare GME cuts or any other Medicare or Medicaid reductions: Representatives Gary Ackerman (D-Jamaica), Timothy Bishop (D-Southampton), Yvette Clarke (D-Brooklyn) Joseph Crowley (D-Queens/Bronx), Kathy Hochul (D-Clarence), Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo), Nita Lowey (D-Harrison), Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan), Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola), Gregory Meeks (D-Far Rockaway), Jerry Nadler (D-Manhattan), Charles Rangel (D-Manhattan), Jose Serrano (D-Bronx), Louise Slaughter (D-Fairport), Paul Tonko (D-Amsterdam), and Edolphus Towns (D-Brooklyn). 

In addition, Representative Peter King (R-Seaford), a leader in the Republican caucus and Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has taken hospital issues to House leadership many times in the past and will continue to press the caucus. Contact: Susan Van Meter


Presentations Available from New York’s "Meaningful Use" Session with CMS and ONC

Last week, senior staff from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) participated in a day-long session for New York hospitals on the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs.   Hosted by the Department of Health (DOH) in conjunction with HANYS, Greater New York Hospital Association, New York eHealth Collaborative, and New York City Regional Electronic Adoption Center for Health, The Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs: What Hospitals Need to Know reached hundreds of HANYS’ members both in-person in New York City as well as via Webconference. 

Presentation materials from the session are now available on the HANYS Health Care Reform Navigator Web site. HANYS will provide a link to the audio/video file from the session once it is made available.  Contact: Susan Van Meter