[House of Representatives Seal]

Congressman Jack Quinn

[House of Representatives Seal]


Press Release

July 28, 1999   (Buffalo, New York) In an effort to continue financing Medicare payments to Western New York teaching hospitals, Congressman Jack Quinn (NY30) has introduced a bipartisan bill which is being backed by the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) that will continue to maintain Medicare's strong commitment to teaching hospitals.

"Teaching hospitals are a necessity in serving the elderly and for training doctors," Quinn said.  "In order for the U.S. to continue being the world leader in graduate medical education, we must continue Medicare's commitment to our teaching hospitals."

The Quinn-Lowey Hospital Emergency Assistance Act (H.R. 2266), co-sponsored by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-18th/NY), is a broad-based approach to addressing the crisis that many teaching hospitals are facing following cuts in the federal budget back in 1997.  The legislation will be the first bill to reach out to all hospitals that are suffering from the budget constraints, with particular emphasis on teaching hospitals.

"Every hospital in every state would benefit from this bill, whether it's in a rural, urban or suburban area."

Earlier this year, Quinn took the lead in requesting the Administration's Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare to continue financing Medicare payments to teaching hospitals.  The federal Commission was considering the removal of the Disproportionate Share (DSH) special payment program that is currently funded under Medicare.  Quinn wanted Congress to appropriate funding annually for hospitals in the federal budget. 

"Medicare DSH payments are an absolute necessity," said Quinn.  "Subjecting DSH to the federal government's annual budget process where it would have to compete against other important federal priorities would represent a wholly inappropriate shift of what is properly a Medicare responsibility to general revenues."

The Quinn-Lowey bill would:

 -- return approximately 3% in Medicare funding over five years to hospitals.  New York's share of that would be $540 million.

 -- restore the last three years of Medicare DSH payment cuts.  Teaching hospitals rely on DSH payments in which NYS alone receives 14% of the share.  About 125 NYS hospitals would benefit by having DSH funding of $84 million over five years returned.  

 -- freeze reductions in the Indirect Medical Education (IME) Adjustment to October 1, 1998 levels, maintaining the adjustment at 6.5%.  

The bill also contains a market basket provision which would reduce one of the most severe cuts to hospitals in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 by reducing the annual cut hospitals receive each year in federal funding to pay for the services they provide.  Market basket is what services such as pharmaceuticals cost in the medical marketplace.  Under the BBA, hospitals are reimbursed for market basket rates minus an amount.  The bill would restore funds to all types of hospitals that are paid under the Prospective Payment System in urban, rural, and suburban areas.

"Teaching hospitals play a vital role in providing services to patients and offering a clinical education to physicians and other health professionals," said Quinn.  "They offer highly specialized care for seniors who are ill and provide a clinical research environment that is necessary in improving the health of all Western New Yorkers."


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