May 20, 2004

Hospital Execs Ask Congress For Funding

Representatives from Missouriís hospitals traveled to Washington, D.C. in May to share their views on issues of concern to the hospital community with members of Congress.

Missouri hospital executives shared data with members of Congress to illustrate the financial status of the stateís hospitals. They urged Congress to adopt legislation to provide more funding for outpatient hospital services, emergency rooms and clinics. In addition, the executives asked Congress for a one-year extension of federal Medicaid assistance payments to help Missouri and other states facing budget shortfalls.

The hospital executives also urged members of Congress to extend the federal moratorium on the construction of specialty hospitals to allow Congress ample time to consider studies of specialty hospitals it ordered. The studies are due in May 2005, and the moratorium expires at the end of May. Hospitals feel that Congress needs more time to weigh the studies and to act.

Executives also urged Congress to change the payment policy for outpatient laboratory services of small hospitals in rural areas designated as critical-access hospitals.

On the issue of Medicaid reform, the executives urged their Congressional representatives to give the states greater flexibility in managing their Medicaid programs if the Missouri Medicaid partnership agreement with the federal government becomes the national model for Medicaid reform.

Among the hospital representatives was Marcia R. Dial, administrator and chief executive officer at Scotland County Memorial Hospital in Memphis, and Thomas S. Thomas, FACHE, SSM Health Care corporate vice president of public policy and president of SSM Policy Institute in Columbia.

The delegation of hospital representatives was organized by the Missouri Hospital Association. It was comprised of hospital executives, board members and MHA staff.

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