Here's what you need to know about market force issues
impacting healthcare today:
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"Don't cut payments for hospital care."
The American Hospital Association (AHA) and other national advocacy groups are working to alert Americans and lawmakers that further Medicare and Medi-Cal budget cuts "would be devastating to hospitals and the communities they care for."
In a letter to lawmakers signed by the AHA, the Association of American Medical Colleges, Catholic Health Association, the National Association of Public Hospitals and others, the groups took aim at the more than $20 billion in hospital payment cuts contained in the House passed H.R. 3630. The letter further states that "cuts of this magnitude will mean fewer nurses, longer waits for emergency care and decreased access to new treatments."
Hospitals are also the economic anchors in their communities. Nearly 280,000 jobs would be lost under the combined impact of the 2011 "Budget Control Act" and the enactment of other legislation.
Here in California, a nearly 13 percent reduction in reimbursement to skilled nursing facilities operated by community hospitals is severely impacting facilities like the Continuing Care Center (CCC) on the campus of Hi-Desert Medical Center. The CCC is now expected to lose $900,000 in state Medi-Cal reimbursement this year. Centers such as the CCC often care for patients with complex medical needs or those who require specialized services not available in other nursing homes. More than 10 percent of California's skilled nursing beds are operated by acute care hospitals.
About Healthcare Reform:
No matter where you stand on the healthcare reform debate, consider the following.
- Coverage for 2.5 million young adults: thanks to healthcare reform, already 2.5 million young adults have been able to stay on their parents' health plan until their 26th birthday, instead of being uninsured.
- Lower drug costs for 2.7 million seniors: thanks to healthcare reform, 2.7 million seniors have already received a 50 percent discount for their brand-name perscription drugs while in the "donut hole," with an average savings of $569 per senior per year.
- Lower healthcare costs for more than 24 million seniors: thanks to healthcare reform, more than 24 million seniors have already received free preventive services under Medicare, including mammograms, colonoscopies, and free annual wellness visits.
- Guaranteed protection for up to 17 million children with pre-existing conditions: thanks to healthcare reform, insurance companies are now prohibited from discriminating against children with pre-existing conditions.
- Ending insurance company rescissions: thanks to healthcare reform, insurance companies are now prohibited from arbitrarily dropping individuals from coverage simply because they get sick.
- More accountability from insurance companies: thanks to healthcare reform, your insurance company must now spend at least 80 percent of your premium covering medical services rather than CEO pay, profits and administrative costs. If your insurer fails to meet this threshold, you get a rebate.
- More transparency from insurance companies: thanks to healthcare reform, your insurance company must now publish justifications for any premium increases they are seeking that are more than 10 percent, with outside experts publicly evaluating whether the increases are justified.
These are just the beginning of the benefits that Americans will see because of the Affordable Care Act. By the year 2014, insurance companies will no longer be able to discriminate against anyone with a pre-existing medical condition, and new healthcare exchanges and tax credits will create greater competition and affordable choices for Americans shopping for insurance.
Hi-Desert Medical Center (HDMC) Fast Facts:
- Hi-Desert Memorial Health Care District is a California District Hospital owned by the citizens of the Morongo Basin
- Charity and uncompensated care to those in need: $3.3 million in 2010
- HDMC is the Morongo Basin's third largest employer
- Expenditures to attract needed physicians: $667,000 in 2010
- HDMC is important to the local economy, contributing more than just health service; HDMC provides employment and payroll directly, and has a multiplier effect throughout the local economy
- HDMC is a major factor in future economic development
Other Hi-Desert Medical Center (HDMC) related news:
Other Fast Facts:
- The healthcare sector accounted for 12.2 percent of the private employment in San Bernardino County and 10.7 percent in the State of California
- Healthcare is second to retail trade, which amounts to 13.9 percent of the private employment in the county
- The healthcare sector accounted for 15.5 percent of the total private earnings in San Bernardino County and 11.6 percent in the State of California
- Healthcare is the industry with the LARGEST portion of private earnings in the county and third largest for the state
Ways to Get Involved:
- Contact your state legislators to voice alarm over these cuts and urge exemptions for rural facilities such as the CCC
- Whenever possible, use Hi-Desert Medical Center's services, such as inpatient, outpatient, laboratory, medical imaging and rehabilitative services
- Support your local healthcare District by speaking about it to your friends and neighbors
- Volunteer at HDMC! Donate to the Foundation!