Washington, D.C. – After almost five years of advocacy, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that Wills Eye Hospital has now been classified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as an inpatient hospital under Medicare. This important designation will ensure that all patients can receive the critical services they need at Wills Eye Hospital.
“For 185 years, Wills Eye has provided world class services to the people of Pennsylvania and to the world,” said Senator Casey. “I am pleased that they will now be able to continue their great work with the full support of CMS under their new hospital designation. They have deserved this designation from the beginning and I am appreciative of CMS’s work to create this opportunity. This is a win for Wills Eye, for the patients they help, for Pennsylvania and for the Nation. I look forward to witnessing Wills Eye’s success for many years to come.”
“Senator Casey has long been a steadfast champion of Wills Eye Hospital and the many patients who rely on us to treat the most complex and challenging eye conditions,” said Joseph Bilson, Chief Executive Officer, Wills Eye Hospital.“His leadership has been instrumental in securing this outcome and assuring that those needed services are available long into the future."
Among other actions, Casey directly appealed to CMS Administrator Verma and repeatedly called on both the Obama and Trump Administrations to resolve the issue. Now Wills Eye will be able to keep patients over 24 hours and treat the most complicated cases.
Below is background information on Senator Casey’s efforts on behalf of Wills Eye Hospital.
Since 2013, Senator Casey has been working to allow Wills Eye Hospital to participate in the Medicare program as a hospital. In the ensuing years, on his own or with others, he sent eight letters to HHS and/or CMS.
- 10/24/2013 to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner: Support letter for Wills Eye to participate in the Medicare program as a hospital.
- 02/03/2015 to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner: Asking CMS to allow Wills Eye to participate in Medicare as a hospital.
- 02/12/2016 to CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt: Asking CMS to reconsider decision and allow Wills Eye to participate in Medicare as a hospital. This letter was sent with Senator Toomey and Congressmen Meehan and Brady.
- 07/21/2016 to HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell: Asking that CMS allow Wills Eye to keep inpatients, as permitted under their PA hospital license, while the appeal regarding hospital status runs its course.
- 09/07/2016 to HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell: Laying out the negative impact that could occur should Wills Eye Hospital have to stop all inpatient services and requesting that Secretary Burwell join the Senator in a visit to Wills Eye to see firsthand the work done there.
- 09/22/2016 to HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell: Follow up to phone call and requesting Dr. Patrick Conway visit Wills Eye to see the work done there and get a better understanding of why Wills Eye should be allowed to participate in Medicare as a hospital.
- 03/16/2017 to HHS Secretary Tom Price: Requesting HHS reconsider the decision of the previous administration that denied Wills Eye Hospital the ability to participate in Medicare as a hospital and to grant them hospital status under Medicare. This letter was sent with Senator Toomey and Congressmen Meehan, Brady, Dent, and Evans.
- 08/01/2017 to CMS Administrator Seema Verma: Requesting a status update on the new guidance that CMS was developing to allow Wills Eye a pathway to participate in the Medicare program as a hospital. This letter was sent with Senator Toomey and Congressmen Meehan, Brady, Dent, and Evans.
On September 6, 2017, the CMS Office of Survey and Certification released new guidance which created a path for small specialty hospitals to participate in Medicare as hospitals. Under this new process, Wills Eye applied to participate in Medicare as a hospital. This was approved on 03/29/2018 and Wills Eye Hospital now participates in Medicare as a hospital.