Congressional Delegation Announces $26 Million in Medicare Payments for RI Hospitals

Friday, August 4, 2017

Providence, RI – Seeking to improve patients’ access to quality health care at hospitals while protecting a major source of jobs in Rhode Island, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Representatives Jim Langevin and David Cicilline today announced that hospitals across Rhode Island will receive approximately $26 million in additional Medicare payments following the renewal of a “wage index” adjustment by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

“The additional federal funds are a victory for these Rhode Island hospitals, who rely on an even playing field to compile a budget and fairly compensate staff who are providing care to patients.  Ensuring that hospitals are paid fairly under Medicare improves the financial stability of the state's health system and improves access to care for seniors,” said Senator Reed.  “I continue to communicate with CMS about how important these adjustments are for our hospitals, and I’m pleased the agency continues to respond to our efforts to ensure Rhode Island’s hospitals are properly reimbursed.”

“Today’s announcement is a win for Rhode Island patients and hospitals. Extending the wage index helps our hospitals attract and retain top talent, and reduces what would have been a significant financial stress on our health care system,” said Senator Whitehouse.  “I’ll continue to work with the rest of Rhode Island’s delegation, the Hospital Association of Rhode Island, and CMS to find a fix that makes sense for Rhode Island and protects jobs in one of the most important sectors of our local economy.”

The CMS Inpatient Hospital Prospective Payment System rule annually adjusts Medicare payment to hospitals to account for different labor costs across the country.  Since 2012, CMS has addressed disparity in payments to Rhode Island hospitals using an alternative wage-index adjustment that is unique to Rhode Island.  That payment “fix” has been renewed again this year.  Rhode Island’s congressional delegation advocated for its renewal.

“Our hospitals provide high quality care to Rhode Islanders day and night, and it is crucial that they are properly reimbursed by the federal government,” said Congressman Langevin. “I am pleased that CMS responded to our ongoing concerns and will provide funding for another year to reduce the impact of differing labor costs and help providers to better care for their patients.” 

“This announcement is a big win for Rhode Island,” said Congressman Cicilline.  “It will allow hospitals to continue providing quality, affordable health care, and keep providers competitive in our state.”

The final regulation for this fiscal year, issued this week, will help ensure that patients who need hospital care in Rhode Island continue to have access to high-quality services and that these hospitals remain a source of sustainable jobs in the state.

“Because of the tough choices we’ve made over the past few years, Rhode Island has been able to successfully keep down health care costs while they rise in other states,” Governor Gina M. Raimondo said. “This announcement means that, thanks to the hard work of our congressional delegation, our hospitals can continue to offer quality, affordable care, while employing Rhode Islanders.”

Every acute-care hospital in Rhode Island, not including the state’s behavioral health care facilities, will benefit from the renewal.

“The extension of this Medicare payment policy provides critical payments to Rhode Island hospitals that are working to provide exceptional care for every patient who comes through their doors,” said Teresa Paiva Weed, President of the Hospital Association of Rhode Island.  “I am grateful to our outstanding congressional delegation and Governor Raimondo for being strong advocates for patients and health care providers in Rhode Island, and to CMS for taking into account all the information we provided the agency.  This outcome benefits everyone who uses health care in Rhode Island.”

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