Let­ter asks panel to skip re­duc­tion of bad-debt pay­ments

Modern Healthcare - - LATE NEWS -

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.

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