Letter asks panel to skip reduction of bad-debt payments
Six groups, including the American Hospital Association and Catholic Health Association, submitted a letter to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction asking the panel to skip a plan to reduce Medicare baddebt payments. “An arbitrary cut to Medicare bad-debt payments on behalf of seniors is bad policy that will weaken the hospital safety net that seniors rely on,” the letter read. The Federation of American Hospitals, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems and the Premier healthcare alliance also signed the letter claiming the cuts hurt hospitals of all types. The proposal would trim bad-debt reimbursements from 70% to 25%. While paying respect to the 12-member super committee for their unenviable job of finding $1.5 trillion in debt savings over the next decade, the letter repeatedly called the bad-debt cuts “arbitrary,” expressing concern over President Barack Obama’s proposal. (See related story, p. 8.) Liberties Union of Kentucky claimed University Hospital violated the state’s open-records law when it denied the ACLU a records request in August. The ruling points out that as a not-for-profit, the hospital couldn’t share money with the University of Louisville unless the two act “as one and the same.” The deal, which still requires state approval, involves the 329-bed University Hospital, 462-bed Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare in Louisville, and St. Joseph Health System in Lexington. The Federal Trade Commission approved the three-way merger last month. A spokesman for University of Louisville Health Care issued a statement that said it “is disappointed that the attorney general reversed his office’s own 2006 decision that found (University Hospitals) not to be subject to the Open Records Act.”
University Hospital may be subject to Kentucky’s Open Records Act as a public institution under the ruling.