U.S. Representatives Claudia Tenney (NY-22), Elise Stefanik (NY-21), John Katko (NY-24), Chris Collins (NY-27) and John Faso (NY-19) called on House Leadership to include language in the continuing resolution critical to protecting rural hospitals in Upstate New York. The proposed legislative text would fix an error made by the Medicare contractor for New York and New England when determining a Medicare payment adjustment called the Volume Decrease Adjustment. This error has forced 16 small, rural hospitals to repay more than $15 million with a punitive interest rate of more than 9 percent.
“Rural hospitals across Upstate New York depend on VDA to ensure continued fiscal stability and operation. Small hospitals like Cortland Regional Medical Center, Rome Memorial Hospital and UHS Chenango Memorial Hospital provide exceptional healthcare to those who need it the most in our rural communities. Congress must fix this error to protect our rural providers. I’ll continue to work alongside my colleagues in Upstate New York to secure the inclusion of this important language,” said Congresswoman Tenney.
“This ‘clawback’ threatens the financial stability of New York’s Sole Community Hospitals and Medicare Dependent Hospitals,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “These are important providers in rural communities like ours that provide care for seniors, the sick and the most vulnerable. It’s important to rural hospitals in our region that this issue is addressed in any government funding measure.”
“Rural hospitals in Auburn and Oswego provide critical care to individuals and families in our community. The financial impacts of volume decrease adjustments would be devastating to these hospitals. It is crucial that Congress prevent these potential cuts and I will continue to fight alongside my New York colleagues to have this addressed in upcoming legislation,” said Congressman Katko.
“We must do all we can to help hospitals in rural areas of New York keep their doors open. In an emergency, my constituents need assurance that they have a place to go for treatment. My colleagues from New York and I are pushing for this important amendment to the continuing resolution that would relieve Sole Community Hospitals and Medicare Dependent Hospitals across the state and in my district. Given the challenging nature rural hospitals face regarding patient volume, it is critical to waive repayment to ensure financial security so they can continue to serve our communities,” said Congressman Collins.
“Rural hospitals are a vital source of healthcare for Upstate New Yorkers,” said Congressman Faso. “Our proposed fix would ensure fairness and prevent hospitals from being forced to pay penalties for a mistake they did not make.”
The VDA is provided to Medicare Dependent Hospitals and Sole Community Hospitals that experience significant decreases in patient volume from one year to the next due to circumstances beyond their control. The adjustment is intended to cover some of the costs needed to maintain the core staff and services necessary for continued operation of the hospital during challenging times. Rural community hospitals are financially vulnerable and the VDA is critical to ensure continued operations.
The 16 rural hospitals impacted by the VDA are:
- Adirondack Medical Center
- Auburn Community Hospital
- Aurelia Osborn Fox Memorial Hospital
- Carthage Area Hospital
- Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center
- Cortland Regional Medical Center
- Gouveneur Hospital
- Jones Memorial Hospital
- Lewis County General Hospital
- Massena Memorial Hospital
- Nathan Littauer Hospital
- Oswego Hospital
- Rome Memorial Hospital
- The University of Vermont Health Network-Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital
- UHS Chenango Memorial Hospital
- Wyoming County Community Health System
Read the full text of the letter here.