ADVOCACY POSTURE STATEMENT: Continued health care provider reimbursement cuts threaten access to quality care; Decisions made today affect quality of care tomorrow.
SUMMARY: Hospitals, in conjunction with health care service providers, offer unique services and are a fundamental contributor to the economic health of their community. Hospitals must maintain their distinctive role providing high quality services while caring for those who cannot pay and responding promptly when disaster strikes. Continued reductions to hospital and health care provider reimbursements jeopardize access to quality health care services, and risks the very survival of community hospitals.
The Canyon Vista Medical Center Board of Trustees (BOT) will actively engage at the local, regional and national level to advocate, inform and educate in support of issues that provide financial stability or otherwise facilitate financial predictability for the health care professions. This will help hospitals and healthcare providers to focus on taking care of patients, improving outcomes of care, becoming more efficient, and promoting community health.
DISCUSSION: Lack of financial stability and predictability hurt accessibility to care. Legislators have repeatedly turned to cutting government reimbursements (Medicare, Medicaid/AHCCCS, TriCare) to hospitals and healthcare service providers in order to address budget shortfalls or offset the costs of maintaining existing programs. Medicare payments to Arizona hospitals will be cut by nearly $3.7B over the next ten years. These cuts impact the availability of health care providers throughout the cycle of care. In order to support health care provider economic stability, the BOT will work collectively to request lawmakers and community members:
- Protect and defend the restoration of Prop 204 and further expansion of Medicaid/AHCCCS as enacted by the Arizona Legislature in 2013.
- Support a permanent fix to the physician SGR without cutting health care reimbursements elsewhere.
- Oppose unfunded regulatory or legislative mandates and administratively burdensome regulations that impede timely access to care and increase the cost of hospital care while having no beneficial impact on patient outcomes.
- Oppose site neutral reimbursement policies that seek to equalize or cap Medicare payment rates for hospitals vs physician offices.
- Oppose arbitrary cuts to provider payments (outpatient evaluation, Graduate Medical Education (GME), Medicare bad debt, inpatient rehabilitation, cap on Medicaid/AHCCCS provider payments, behavioral health services, etc.,)
- Support the development of rational long-term payment methodologies that reflect the true cost of providing care, reward quality and promote better health outcomes.