Protect private safety-net hospitals from Medicare DSH cuts by delaying those cuts, the National Association of Urban Hospitals asked Congress yesterday.

In a message to every member of Congress, NAUH observed that the Affordable Care Act-mandated requirement to reduce Medicare disproportionate share hospital payments (Medicare DSH) in anticipation of more people getting health insurance and hospitals providing less care to the uninsured was thrown off balance by the decision of many states not to expand their Medicaid programs in the wake of the Supreme Court decision making that expansion optional.

NAUH LogoPrivate safety-net hospitals are already struggling to accommodate an outsized proportion of the $270 billion in  Medicare payment cuts imposed on hospitals in recent years, NAUH wrote.  That burden is now being exacerbated because in the absence of direction from Congress on how to adjust Medicare DSH cuts to reflect this change, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is making the cuts required in the 2010 health reform law.

NAUH asked Congress to provide that direction to CMS, which administers the Medicare program.

Private safety-net hospitals need to be protected from these cuts, which threaten to destroy their ability to care for their vulnerable patients and jeopardize the ability of some to continue fulfilling their vital role in the American health care safety net.

See NAUH’s complete message to Congress here.