The end of an extension to a federal supplement program on Oct. 1 will result in an annual reduction of $1.9 million dollars in Medicare payments to Warren General Hospital (WGH) if legislation to reinstate it is not passed by Congress.
According to a press release provided by WGH, the hospital qualifies as a Medicare Dependent Hospital (MDH) entitling it to receive supplemental payments from the Medicare program.
To qualify as an MDH, a hospital must:
be located in a rural area,
have 100 or fewer beds,
cannot also be classified under law as a Sole Community Hospital,
and report at least 60 percent of its inpatient days or discharges as attributable to beneficiaries entitled to Medicare Part A.
The press release notes WGH has been eligible for the status since 1987.
On Oct. 1, a one-year extension of payments of the supplements, which was included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, expired. The program was set to expire in October 2011 prior to the extension under the Affordable Care Act.
According to the WGH press release, "Warren General Hospital and over 200 other community hospitals across the nation are also facing the same reduction. Losing Medicare Dependent Hospital status will be devastating to many of these facilities, causing some to close their doors."
Two nearly identical pieces of legislation currently awaiting action in Congress aim to reinstate the program. Senate Bill 2620 and House Resolution 5943, together known as the Rural Hospitals Act of 2012, would both extend the program through Oct. 1, 2013. The legislation does not address more long-term funding.
Congressmen Mike Kelly (PA-3) and Glenn Thompson (PA-5), whose districts cover Warren County, are co-sponsors of the legislation in the House of Representatives.
According to the WGH release, "As part of the Medicare Dependent Rural Hospital Coalition, WGH CEO John Papalia and President of the Warren General Hospital Board of Directors Tim Bevevino, Esq., attended a coalition fly-in on Sept. 12 and 13 in Washington D.C. in an attempt to educate both our representatives in the House and Senate with regard to the impact on our community hospital."
Papalia said in the release, "The coalition is somewhat optimistic about the success of reinstatement."