SCHUMER STATEMENT ON NEW PROPOSED CMS RULE CHANGE THAT WOULD BRING TENS OF MILLIONS TO HOSPITALS ACROSS THE CAPITAL REGION
Following years of advocacy, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today announced that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has heeded his calls and proposed a substantial increase to Medicare Wage Index (MWI) payments, which would significantly boost funding to Capital Region hospitals.
Schumer explained that the FY2024 Hospital Inpatient PPS Proposed Rule would amend the Medicare formula to potentially include tens of millions in increased federal funding for hospital systems across the Capital Region, which for years have received less than the national average for the services they provide. As proposed, the Capital Region stands to receive a 43 percent increase in the Medicare payments it receives to account for wage variation across the country. Schumer is now launching an all-out push to ensure that the proposal is finalized by CMS. Sen. Schumer will work with fellow representatives, New York hospitals and other stakeholders to support the proposal, which will go through a period of review, public input and final approval.
“For years, hospitals throughout the Capital Region have struggled with unfairly low Medicare payments that fell terribly short of wage demands in the region and left hospitals struggling to compete to bring the best doctors and nurses to the region. I have fought tirelessly to get this federal funding formula changed and deliver fairness in payment to Capital District hospitals, and I’m thrilled to see that the CMS is finally heeding my call and proposing a fix,” said Senator Schumer. “This positive CMS proposal can help rectify the unfair payment system, but we have much work to do as CMS considers changes before they decide on the final version. Over the coming weeks, I will pull out every stop to get CMS to finalize this proposed wage increase for Capital Region hospitals so that they can have the full reimbursements they have been denied for too long.”
The Medicare Wage Index rate is used to determine how much money the U.S. government pays hospitals for labor costs when they treat Medicare patients. Each metro area is assigned a rate that dictates whether they receive a little more or a little less than the national average for health care labor costs. Since the 1980s, hospitals in the Albany area have received only 86 percent of what the average hospital receives to account for wages. The FY24 Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) proposed rule would increase the Capital Region’s adjustment to 122 percent of what the average hospital receives in wage adjustments, finally acknowledging that the region needs much higher than averages wages to compete and bring in the best providers, thereby bringing millions in federal funding to Capital Region hospitals each year.