10.11.22

SCHUMER REVEALS: RURAL FINGER LAKES HOSPITALS AT RISK OF LOSING $21 MILLION WITH PROGRAM SET TO EXPIRE IN WEEKS; STANDING AT NOYES HEALTH, LIVINGSTON COUNTY’S LARGEST HEALTHCARE PROVIDER, SCHUMER LAUNCHES ALL OUT PUSH TO GET FED PROGRAMS OFF LIFE SUPPORT & GIVE RURAL FINGER LAKES HOSPITALS THE LONG-TERM HEALTH FUNDING THEY NEED

After Hospitals Just Faced Harshest Years Because Of The Pandemic, Schumer Says Vital Federal Medicare Reimbursement Programs, The Low-Volume Hospital (LVH) And Medicare-Dependent Hospital (MDH) Funds, Are Set To Expire By End Of This Year Putting Rural Upstate NY Hospitals At Risk Of Major Cliff

Schumer Secured A Short Term Extension In Just Passed Temporary Budget Bill – But If The Program Isn’t Renewed Rural Upstate Hospitals Would Lose Millions – Resulting In Rural Providers Like Livingston County’s Noyes Health Reducing Critical Care Services

Schumer: We Can’t Let Rural Finger Lakes Hospitals Fed Funding Flat Line This December  

Standing with doctors at UR Medicine Noyes Health, Livingston County’s largest healthcare provider and major employer, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer today sounded the alarm on a potential $21 million federal funding cliff facing rural Finger Lakes hospitals, and launched a major push renew the critical Medicare reimbursement programs that are set to potentially expire this December. Schumer explained that rural hospitals just had some of their harshest years yet due to the pandemic, and that the Low-Volume Hospital (LVH) and Medicare-Dependent Hospital (MDH) Programs are essential to these hospitals continuing to provide care in underserved rural areas due to a lower volume of patients and a higher percentage of Medicare beneficiaries. Schumer said that if the program is not revived, providers like Noyes Health would lose over $7.5 million over the coming decade, resulting in increased operating costs, reduced care and greater wait times putting lives at risk. The senator secured a short term extension of the programs in the just passed temporary budget bill, and now is calling for immediate action to have colleagues across the aisle to get these programs off life support and give rural hospitals the long term funding they need.

“Rural hospitals across the Finger Lakes and Upstate New York heroically stepped up to keep our communities safe on the frontlines of the pandemic and we can’t let these vital federal reimbursement programs continue to stay on life support, or worse flat line in December. Without this funding, rural hospitals like Noyes Health would lose millions, putting continued access to lifesaving medical care at risk in places like Livingston County,” said Senator Schumer. “That is why I’m calling for my colleagues across the aisle to join me in getting the Low-Volume and Medicare-Dependent Hospital Programs the long-term support they need to maintain the health of our rural hospitals.”

Dr. J. Chad Teeters, President and CEO at UR Medicine Noyes Health said, “The Medicare Low Volume Adjustment program is a critical lifeline for hospitals like ours, which are unavoidably dependent on Medicare revenue due to the high percentage of beneficiaries who live in rural areas.  The long term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have left us even more financially vulnerable, making the relief this program provides even more essential to maintain access to care for patients.  We greatly appreciate Senator Schumer’s leadership and the work he is doing to extend these programs, which will allow us to continue providing high quality care to families in our community and across the Southern Tier region.”

Noyes Health continues to serve as the regional transfer center for inpatient and ICU services within the Southern Tier of New York State. Since the pandemic and the effects of staffing and the soaring costs for travel nursing, Noyes has encountered millions of dollars in additional operating costs to keep inpatient and ICU beds open to be able to provide needed care for the population we serve. Without the Medicare low volume fee adjustments, we would likely have to close half of our ICU beds and/or an additional 10-15 medical/surgical beds due to inability to absorb incremental staffing costs. This would lead to reduced access, greater wait times for bed placement, and patients being transferred long distances to receive the care they need. We greatly appreciate the efforts of Senator Schumer and the Congress to restore these funds and allow us to continue to provide high quality care to the citizens of our community and region.”

Schumer explained that rural hospitals in Upstate New Yok face many challenges due to generally serving a population that has a higher percentage of Medicare beneficiaries and attending to a smaller volume of patients compared to urban and suburban hospitals. This means in order for rural hospitals to maintain services in these areas they are often reliant on federal assistance to maintain quality of care. This need for federal assistance was amplified during the pandemic as hospitals across New York were forced to rip holes in their budgets fighting the virus on the frontlines. Since the start of the pandemic, Schumer fought to provide robust funding to rural hospitals across Upstate New York, including over $13.5 billion in Provider Relief Fund grants to New York providers including $5.7 million to Noyes Health and over $10 billion in enhanced State Medicaid funding and extensions of critical federal programs such as the Disproportionate-Share Hospital program that directly support critical rural providers.

Now, however, as rural hospitals begin to recover from the height of the pandemic, Schumer said that the vital Medicare funding streams that have allowed these hospitals to remain solvent for decades are at risk of drying up. Both the Low-Volume Hospital Program and Medicare-Dependent Hospital Program, which provides funding to hospitals who mainly serve Medicare patients, bringing greater financial stability to the hospital both are slated to expire on December 16th. Schumer said, the expiration of these two programs would leave rural Finger Lakes hospitals under-funded, under-staffed, and would risk decreased services in underserved communities across Upstate New York that need the funding most. Schumer said he is taking immediate action and calling on colleagues across the aisle to come together to support long term funding for rural hospitals so they can continue to access these vital programs.

Noyes officials explained that Noyes Health continues to serve as the regional transfer center for inpatient and ICU services within the Southern Tier of New York State. Since the pandemic, Noyes has encountered millions of dollars in additional operating costs to keep inpatient and ICU beds open to be able to provide needed care for the population we serve. Without the Medicare low volume fee adjustments, Noyes could confront the need to close half of its ICU beds and/or an additional 10-15 medical/surgical beds due to inability to absorb incremental staffing costs. This would lead to reduced access, greater wait times for bed placement, and patients being transferred long distances to receive the care they need.

If congress does not come together to fund these programs it would cost Finger Lakes hospitals over $21 million over the coming decade and $145 million across all of New York’s 21 impacted rural hospitals.

Impacted Finger Lakes hospitals would include:

Hospital

County

Low-Volume Hospital Funding  10-year value

Medicare-Dependent Hospital Funding 10 year

Nicholas H Noyes Memorial Hospital

Livingston

7, 450,300

 

Newark-Wayne Community Hospital

Wayne

 

8,113,800

Wyoming County Community Hospital

Wyoming

5,428,500

 

  


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