SCHUMER: WITHOUT SWIFT ACTION BY CONGRESS, UHS CHENANGO MEMORIAL HOSPITAL IS SET TO LOSE NEARLY $21 MILLION IN CRITICAL RURAL HOSPITAL FUNDING; SCHUMER WILL PUSH BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION TO AVOID CRIPPLING CUTS IN FUNDING, WHICH COULD BE DISASTROUS FOR LOCAL RESIDENTS, QUALITY OF CARE ACROSS THE STATE & HOSPITAL JOBS
Schumer Will Push Legislation To Extend Key Rural Hospital Support Programs For Hospitals That Treat Rural Communities Who Rely Heavily On Medicare & Other Critical-Care Programs
Rural Hospitals Like UHS Chenango Memorial Hospital Count on This Funding Each Year; Additional Funding Stream Will Expire if Congress Fails to Act
Schumer: CMH Depends On Fed Funds To Continue Providing Quality Healthcare For Chenango County
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer today revealed bipartisan legislation that is critical for UHS Chenango Memorial Hospital (CMH) to continue serving Chenango County. Schumer said, this legislation called the Rural Hospital Access Act of 2017 will extend 2 vital Medicare payment programs, which is essential to the health of rural hospitals like Chenango Memorial and other hospitals across Upstate New York. Without quick intervention by Congress, Schumer said CMH could lose nearly $21 million in critical funding, which could be disastrous for senior citizens, working families and the quality of care in the Chenango County and the Southern Tier.
“Chenango Memorial Hospital’s success is essential to maintaining high-quality health care as a reality in the Southern Tier, thanks in large part to two important Medicare programs I fought to extend in 2013 and 2015,” said Senator Schumer. “However, these two critical programs are set to expire in October and the loss of this funding would be devastating for rural communities in the Southern Tier and throughout Upstate New York. That is why I’m unveiling legislation that would put an end to any uncertainty and provide permanent funding for the Low-Volume and Medicare-Dependent Hospital Programs. As the only hospital in Chenango County, Chenango Memorial depends on these two programs to keep its doors open, its workers employed in order to serve working families, seniors and other residents. These programs help countless other rural hospitals which ripples across New York and that is why I will use my clout in Washington to support efforts to fully fund them.”
Schumer said UHS Chenango Memorial Hospital is Chenango County's only hospital and emergency room, serving more than 55,000 residents, 44% of whom are covered by Medicare or Medicaid. In 2015, the hospital’s emergency room received 18,000 patients and 76% of its inpatients were insured by Medicare or Medicaid. Additionally, as a top employer in the County, Chenango Memorial plays a vital a role in the local economy and is part of the United Health Services network employing thousands throughout the Southern Tier. The crucial services that UHS Chenango Memorial provides to the community are in large part, funded by Medicare payment programs including the Low-Volume and Medicare-Dependent Hospital Programs. The hospital receives $1.8 million dollars in additional Medicare payments per year, $1 million of which come from the Medicare-Dependent Hospital Program and $800 thousand of which come from the Low Volume Hospital program.
The hospital also provides critical services with respect to heroin and opioid addiction treatments. In 2014, the hospital admitted 83 people for heroin treatment and 66 people for opioid treatment, up from just 2 and 31 people respectively in 2007. Schumer has been a longtime advocate for keeping drug treatment as a healthcare treatment requirement and continues to push towards protecting the most vulnerable citizens in Upstate New York and around the country.
The Medicare-Dependent Hospital (MDH) Program provides support to seven hospitals in New York that treat a high percentage of Medicare patients, and the Low Volume Program impacts 18 New York hospitals that provided Medicare support to hospitals that are very important to rural communities, but do not necessarily serve a high volume of patients. If not for Schumer’s efforts, Chenango Memorial could lose $1,830,000 total, $1,036,000 of which comes from the MDH program, and $793,000 from LVH. The legislation called The Rural Hospital Access Act of 2017 which Schumer leads with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), seeks to fund these programs permanently.
Schumer was joined by Drake Lamen, MD, President & CEO/CMO of UHS Chenango Memorial Hospital, Steve Craig, President & CEO of Commerce Chenango Dave MacDougall, CFO of UHS and Alderman David Zieno, City Council Member.
"These programs have played an important role in ensuring rural hospitals like ours can continue to provide quality, patient-centered care to our communities. If allowed to sunset, it would have a devastating impact on our ability to maintain services. We are grateful for Senator Schumer's leadership on this important piece of legislation and for his support of New York's hospitals," stated Dr. Drake Lamen, MD, President and CEO/CMO of UHS Chenango Memorial Hospital.
Schumer said the expiration of these programs would particularly affect the most vulnerable residents and patients in Chenango County, Chenango’s Memorial would lose $1,830,100 in funding this year and would stand to lose close to $21 million by 2027. Rural hospitals in New York rely on the Low Volume Hospital and Medicare Dependent Hospital programs for their stability and ability to provide high quality healthcare and maintain employment. Senator Schumer’s bill ensures that this vital support will continue-- eliminating the anxiety that healthcare providers and patients are facing.