March 26, 2015
 
 
The Honorable Jeanne Shaheen
506 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
 
Dear Senate Shaheen:
 
On behalf of the New Hampshire Hospital Association and our member hospitals, I am writing to express our support for H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, that would finally—and permanently—fix the flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula used for physician payments under the Medicare program.
 
The threat of continued and growing cuts in Medicare physician payments over the years has been increasingly troubling and challenging for physicians, hospitals and the patients they care for. By finally addressing this issue, Congress is taking a significant step forward to bring about stability in the Medicare program. In addition, the bill provides for extension of several important provisions under the Medicare program, including the Medicare Dependent Hospital (MDH) program, the therapy cap exceptions process, ambulance and home health add-ons, creates new incentive opportunities for physicians participating in alternative payment models, and reauthorizes the CHIP program for another two years.
 
While we are certainly disappointed that hospitals would be looked to for spending offsets to help pay for the SGR fix, particularly when hospitals in New Hampshire are paid less than the cost of caring for Medicare patients, but we believe the overall package strikes an important balance in resolving this complex and long-standing policy challenge. Just as important, though, we were pleased to see that H.R. 2 rejects a number of potential cuts to hospital funding, such as outpatient hospital services (eg “site neutral” cuts), Medicare bad debt payments, graduate medical education, critical access hospitals and certain services provided in rehabilitative hospitals. In addition, the bill does not contain another delay in implementation of the ICD-10 program, something that our hospital chief information officers reported to us would be a major setback.
 
We know that this is a challenging issue, but we urge your support of this important bipartisan legislation.
 
Sincerely,
Steve Ahnen, President & CEO
 
 
 
March 26, 2015
 
 
The Honorable Kelly Ayotte
114 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
 
Dear Senate Ayotte:
 
On behalf of the New Hampshire Hospital Association and our member hospitals, I am writing to express our support for H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, that would finally—and permanently—fix the flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula used for physician payments under the Medicare program.
 
The threat of continued and growing cuts in Medicare physician payments over the years has been increasingly troubling and challenging for physicians, hospitals and the patients they care for. By finally addressing this issue, Congress is taking a significant step forward to bring about stability in the Medicare program. In addition, the bill provides for extension of several important provisions under the Medicare program, including the Medicare Dependent Hospital (MDH) program, the therapy cap exceptions process, ambulance and home health add-ons, creates new incentive opportunities for physicians participating in alternative payment models, and reauthorizes the CHIP program for another two years.
 
While we are certainly disappointed that hospitals would be looked to for spending offsets to help pay for the SGR fix, particularly when hospitals in New Hampshire are paid less than the cost of caring for Medicare patients, but we believe the overall package strikes an important balance in resolving this complex and long-standing policy challenge. Just as important, though, we were pleased to see that H.R. 2 rejects a number of potential cuts to hospital funding, such as outpatient hospital services (eg “site neutral” cuts), Medicare bad debt payments, graduate medical education, critical access hospitals and certain services provided in rehabilitative hospitals. In addition, the bill does not contain another delay in implementation of the ICD-10 program, something that our hospital chief information officers reported to us would be a major setback.
 
We know that this is a challenging issue, but we urge your support of this important bipartisan legislation.
 
Sincerely,
Steve Ahnen, President & CEO