Sewell speaks out in support of change to Medicare reimbursement rartes

Published 6:40 pm Friday, April 26, 2019

Following an announcement by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that it would propose changes to the Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS), which includes a proposal to increase the Medicare reimbursement rate for Alabama hospitals, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-AL, released a statement celebrating the decision.

“Since coming to Congress, I have worked with my colleagues in the Alabama delegation, Alabama’s hospitals and the Alabama Hospital Association to address disparities in the area wage index formula and increase Medicare reimbursements for Alabama’s hospitals,” said Sewell, a member of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health. “I have been proud to introduce the Fair MEdicare Hospital Payments Act during the last two Congresses, which would address disparities in the area wage index.”

Sewell noted that she, along with U.S. Senators Doug Jones, D-AL, and Richard Shelby, R-AL, spoke with CMS Administrator Seema Verma to discuss the “ever-growing challenges” faced by medical providers in the state, particularly those in rural areas.

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“Today’s proposed change to ensure Alabama hospitals receive their fair share in Medicare reimbursement dollars is proof positive that CMS heard us loud and clear,” Sewell said. “Increasing the Medicare wage index for struggling hospitals in low-income states like Alabama will help our hospitals provide critical care and keep their doors open, especially in rural parts of our state.”

Though Sewell is looking forward to working to implement the proposed change and celebrating the positive impact it can have on hospitals across the state, she believes more should be done.

“While this proposed change is a good first step, there is still work to be done to support our hospitals so they can meet all of our communities’ healthcare needs,” Sewell said. “First and foremost, Governor Ivey and the state legislature must expand Medicaid to help shore up Alabama’s rural hospitals and improve healthcare affordability, access and quality across the state.”