September 27, 2012

Hospital Leaders Discuss Policy Agenda With Missouri's Congressional Delegation

Representatives from Missouri's hospitals and the Missouri Hospital Association traveled to Washington, D.C., last week to meet with members of Missouri's congressional delegation and share their views on health care issues. The visit focused on contacts with legislators whose districts are predominately rural.

In their meetings with lawmakers, the hospital leaders emphasized the need for federal stability and predictability as hospitals make their spending and policy decisions. Topics included restrictions on state provider tax programs and reauthorization of the Medicare Dependent Hospital program, which is set to expire Sept. 30. The participants also discussed payment-related administrative burdens and underscored the importance of the critical access hospital program to health care access in rural Missouri.

"Federal policy decisions on Medicare and Medicaid significantly affect the ability of Missouri hospitals to serve their communities," said Herb B. Kuhn, MHA president and CEO. "Although Missouri's congressional delegation has been very supportive of hospitals historically, it is important in these difficult financial times to remind them that the policy choices made in Washington, D.C., have consequences for health care delivery back home."

Hospital leaders representing central Missouri included Allen J. Waldo, CEO, and Robert H. Koch, M.D., chief of staff, of Cooper County Memorial Hospital in Boonville; Ed Farnsworth, president, of Capital Region Medical Center in Jefferson City; Marcia R. Dial, CEO, of Scotland County Hospital in Memphis; Martha Gragg, CEO, of Sullivan County Memorial Hospital in Milan.; Ryan P. Pharr, D.O., family medicine physician, and Dennis P. Pryor, administrator, of Salem Memorial District Hospital; and Julie Davenport, CEO, of I-70 Medical Center in Sweet Springs.

The Missouri Hospital Association is a not-for-profit membership association in Jefferson City that represents 153 Missouri hospitals. In addition to representation and advocacy on behalf of its membership, the association offers continuing education programs on current health care topics and seeks to educate the public about health care issues. Information about MHA programs and services is available online at www.mhanet.com.

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