McHugh Fights to Stop Medicaid Regulation Change that Will Impact New York Healthcare Providers

Submitted article

Congressman John M. McHugh (NY-Pierrepont Manor) announced today that he has introduced legislation to prohibit the Secretary for Health and Human Services from implementing a proposed Medicaid regulation change that could have a significantly negative impact on healthcare providers in New York State.  The bill, H.R. 7219, the Protecting Hospital Outpatient and Community Clinic Services Act of 2008, would delay the regulation change until at least April 1, 2009, allowing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Congress to have the opportunity to thoroughly examine the rule.  The bipartisan legislation is cosponsored by eight other Members of the New York Congressional delegation and is supported by New York Governor David Paterson.

“It is an unfortunate reality that CMS is apparently prepared to proceed with a regulation that could have the result of significantly affecting the Medicaid program in every state while still asserting they cannot determine the fiscal impact of the proposed rule.  Several healthcare providers in my district have shared with me the impact this rule change would have on them, with some worried that this regulation could literally force them out of business,” said Congressman McHugh.  “It is imperative that CMS and Congress have the opportunity to study and consider changing a regulation that would reduce the ability of healthcare providers to serve individuals who need healthcare services the most.  I am committed to continuing to work with the New York Delegation in the House and the Senate to prevent this regulation from taking effect as it is currently written.

Congressman McHugh sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) asking that the House leaders pass his legislation before the end of the 110th Congress.  The proposed regulation would limit the definition and scope of federally reimbursable Medicaid outpatient services provided in a hospital clinic or facility as well as those provided in a rural health clinic.  CMS has stated that it cannot determine the fiscal impact of the proposed rule and that this rule would not significantly alter current practices in most states.

However, according to an internal analysis done by the New York State Governor’s office, New York health care providers, not even including hospitals, would lose over $450 million.  Such a loss of federal funding would have a devastating impact upon the State’s health care infrastructure.  Additionally, the National Association of State Medicaid Directors (NASMD) reports that the proposed regulation “would significantly affect the Medicaid program in every state.”  New York’s 23rd Congressional District is estimated to lose over $2.6 million in federal funding.

Cosponsoring the House legislation are Reps. Mike Arcuri (D-NY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Randy Kuhl (R-NY), Nita Lowey (D-NY), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Edolphus Towns (D-NY), James Walsh (R-NY), and Tom Allen (D-ME).