WASHINGTON, DC — July 21, 2019 — Congressman Eliot L. Engel, a top member on the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, co-led a bipartisan effort to preserve Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments for safety-net hospitals by eliminating painful cuts scheduled to go into effect on October 1, 2019.
Medicaid DSH payments help sustain hospitals that serve a disproportionate number of low-income and uninsured patients. In doing so, these hospitals incur tremendous uncompensated costs. Medicaid DSH payments help make up for these losses and, in turn, allow these safety-net providers to keep their doors open and continue caring for the most vulnerable among us. Without Congressional action, New York’s 200 safety-net hospitals and the patients they serve stand to lose a collective $1.8 billion annually in financial resources according to the Healthcare Association of New York State.
But this week, the House Energy & Commerce (E&C) Health Subcommittee took a big step in support of safety-net hospitals by passing an amendment that eliminates $4 billion in scheduled DSH cuts for fiscal year (FY) 2020 and $8 billion for FY2021. This bipartisan amendment builds on Congressman Engel’s effort from this past May, when he led a letter with Congressman Pete Olson (TX-22) to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy urging a swift resolution to this issue. 300 Members of the House signed the letter.
“Safety-net hospitals such as Montefiore Health Systems, St. John’s Riverside Hospital, and Saint Joseph’s Medical Center are the cornerstone of New York’s health care system,” Engel said. “We must preserve the Medicaid DSH payments, which are the lifeline for these facilities. Today’s markup was an important first-step, and I was proud to help lead in the elimination of these draconian cuts. But we must continue the pressure until it is signed into law.”
“We applaud Rep. Engel’s long standing leadership to protect our hospitals and the vulnerable patients they serve,” said HANYS President Bea Grause, RN, JD. “Today’s vote at the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health brings us one step closer to addressing steep reductions to critical Medicaid DSH resources that help preserve access to care for all New Yorkers. We thank Congressman Engel for his efforts today and look forward to working closely with him as he ushers this legislation through Congress.”
“This hugely important bill protects struggling safety net hospitals from deep, unsustainable funding cuts that would severely compromise patient care,”said Greater New York Hospital Association President Kenneth E. Raske. “The hospital community is deeply grateful to Rep. Engel for his strong leadership on this crucial issue.”
“America’s Essential Hospitals appreciates the amendment from Reps. Kennedy, Hudson, Engel, and Long to mitigate the looming Medicaid DSH cuts. We applaud Rep. Engel’s steadfast leadership in protecting Medicaid DSH funding to ensure essential hospitals have the resources they need to carry out their mission to serve the nation’s most vulnerable,” said Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH, President and CEO, America’s Essential Hospitals.
“The members of the American Nurses Association – New York (ANA-NY) thank Rep. Engel for his work in today’s vote at the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health to deal with the proposed Medicaid DSH reductions,” says Jeanine Santelli, PhD, RN, AGPCNP-BC, FAAN, and Executive Director of ANA-NY. “ANA-NY’s members know that our patients need and deserve access to high quality health care, and the cuts that had been proposed would have a significant impact on the ability of the system to support the care our patients receive. We applaud Rep. Engel for his efforts and look forward to this proposal getting finalized.”
“We greatly appreciate Congressman Engel’s initiative in preserving critical funding for safety net hospitals. The care these hospitals provide is absolutely essential to the health of millions of New Yorkers and is a critical healthcare underpinning for under-served communities. To sustain this funding is to sustain lives—just ask the nurses,” said Carl Ginsburg, spokesperson, New York State Nurses Association.
“DSH funding is very important to the hospital where I work because of our location in an area that is impoverished,” says 1199SEIU member Paulette Forbes. “If the pending funding cuts go through, we may not be able to survive as a hospital. We are grateful to Congressman Eliot Engel for advancing this proposal to repeal the cuts.”
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SOURCE: Bryant Daniels | Communications & Deputy District Director | Congressman Eliot L. Engel