WASHINGTON — Area hospitals will see millions of dollars in funding restored following the passage of temporary federal budget measure last week.
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) announced that he successfully included legislation that renews and extends two vital hospital programs for five years as part of a recent budget agreement.
Schumer said the recently passed budget deal includes the extension of the Low-Volume Hospital (LVH) and Medicare-Dependent Hospital (MDH) Programs, both of which are essential to rural hospitals often under serious financial pressure due to a lower volume of patients and a higher percentage of Medicare beneficiaries than their urban and suburban counterparts.
Both programs expired last year. The new extension includes revisions that could increase payments to some New York hospitals in the Low Volume Hospital program and add additional hospitals to the program.
Local hospitals benefiting from the extension include:
Ira Davenport Memorial Hospital in Bath, receiving $1,202,623 in Medicare Dependent Hospital funding; Ira Davenport Memorial Hospital will also receive $2,483,600 in Low-Volume Hospital funding; Jones Memorial Hospital in Wellsville will receive $3,497,100 in low-volume Hospital assistance; Nicholas H. Noyes Memorial Hospital in Dansville will receive $2,458,300; and St. James Mercy Hospital in Hornell will receive $2,569,000 in Low-Volume Hospital funds.
“The inclusion of five-year extensions of two at-risk federal health care programs – both of which are critical to the financial stability of rural hospitals across the state – is great news for New Yorkers. These hospitals serve a vital public need, employ several thousand New Yorkers across the state, and they deserve our support and long-term certainty in their continuous efforts to provide the highest level of care to residents,” Schumer said. “With the passage of the budget deal, we were able to give our hospitals, patients, and employees some peace of mind and give these hospitals across New York State a clean bill of health . Extending these programs for the next five years was a no-brainer, and that is why I have pushed for their vital inclusion. Now, these hospitals can continue to provide high-quality healthcare and serve as the lifeblood of rural communities across Upstate New York.”
The Low-Volume Program impacts 20 New York hospitals that provided Medicare support to hospitals that are very important to rural communities but do not necessarily serve a high volume of patients.
Schumer explained that rural hospitals face many challenges due to serving a population in more isolated communities where it is harder to achieve economies of scale, making it difficult to provide the same, high-quality care as urban hospitals and medical centers. The LVH and MDH Programs help make these hospitals viable, and allows hospitals across Upstate New York to continue their necessary, high-quality work.
The Medicare-Dependent Hospital Program provides funding to hospitals who mainly serve Medicare patients, bringing greater financial stability to the hospital for over 25 years.
"We are grateful to Senator Schumer for constantly fighting for policies that help New York's hospitals and health systems and the patients and communities they serve," said HANYS President Bea Grause. "Thanks to the Senator's strong leadership, safety net hospitals serving vulnerable populations across the state will see relief from over $820 million in Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital cuts, as well as much needed certainty from the extension of the Medicare Dependent Hospital program and Medicare Low-Volume payment adjustment that will provide nearly $80 million for New York's rural and small community hospitals."
Schumer has long been an advocate for the MDH and LVH programs. In April 2017 he introduced legislation with his colleague Senator Charles Grassley to permanently extend these two programs.
Schumer said the passage of the budget deal is a critical step to ensuring that rural residents have the same access and level of care as their urban counterparts.