WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today joined Congressman Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) and hospital executives to discuss the need for an extension of Section 508 of the Medicare Modernization Act. This extension would fix a glitch in Medicare that provides substantially smaller payments to certain hospitals, especially those in smaller communities. Currently, reclassification reimbursements under Section of 508 are set to expire on September 30, 2007.
“I have told the Chairman of the Finance Committee and Majority Leader Reid how important this fix is to Pennsylvania hospitals,” said Casey. “I was encouraged by their responses and I will continue to push for this issue until President Bush signs it into law.”
At today’s roundtable, Senator Casey expressed his commitment to an extension of the current reclassification beyond September 30th. The 2003 Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) contained a “Section 508” provision that allowed 120 hospitals nationwide, including 13 in Pennsylvania to reclassify to other wage index areas to get higher reimbursements for three years and to avoid losing key medical personnel to adjourning geographical areas with higher wage indexes. Section 508 temporarily remedies the low reimbursement by taking into consideration the type of hospital and its geographical location.
Earlier this month, Senator Casey joined 22 other Senators in sending a letter to Senators Max Baucus (D-MT), the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and Chuck Grassley (R-NE), the Ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee asking that Congress extend the reclassifications for Section 508. Senator Casey has also held discussions with the Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) as well Senator Baucus about the need for both a short term and a permanent solution to the wage index issue.
Senior executives from the health care industry include:
Berwick Hospital Center
Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center
Geisinger South Wilkes-Barre
Geisinger Health System
Hazleton General Hospital/Greater Hazleton Health Alliance
Marian Community Hospital/Maxis Health System
Mercy Hospital/Mercy Health Partners
Moses Taylor Hospital
Williamsport Hospital & Medical Center/Susquehanna Health System
Community Medical Center
Tyler Memorial Hospital
Wyoming Valley Health Care System
Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania
Commonwealth Medical College