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Rubio Introduces Bill Reforming Medicare Appeals Process Burdening Florida Hospitals

Apr 17, 2018 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. —U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today introduced legislation that would end a provision of the Affordable Care Act that prohibits hospitals from contesting Medicare Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments once the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has rendered a decision, even if CMS makes an error. The legislation would reverse this policy to allow administrative reviews of the hospital payments. This legislation is cosponsored by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Bill Nelson (D-FL).
In 2017, Tampa General Hospital (TGH) faced the possibility of losing nearly $2 million in federal funding because of a CMS error. After Rubio’s intervention, TGH was able to recover the full amount that was inappropriately withheld by Medicare, but this intervention does not help all impacted hospitals. Florida is home to 130 hospitals operating under the DSH system, several of which face similar issues.
“Tampa General Hospital almost lost $2 million because of a bureaucratic technicality,” said Rubio. “I am proud to introduce this legislation that will sunset this burdensome Obamacare provision. I remain committed to eliminating these hurdles for Florida hospitals to ensure Medicare patients have access to their local hospitals. Tampa General is a leading medical institution in the region and I look forward to seeing their continued progress in improving lives for Floridians, Americans, and people from around the world.”
“Ensuring that people have access to a hospital when they get sick has always been a top priority,” said Nelson. “And this bill will help hospitals that serve a larger share of low-income people appeal unjust administrative decisions.”
“Senator Marco Rubio and Senator Bill Nelson today introduced legislation that will restore transparency, fairness, and due process for Tampa General Hospital and all of Florida’s safety net hospitals, allowing us to challenge major errors made by the Centers  for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) when they occur,” said TGH President John Couris. “Ultimately, this legislation will translate into better quality health care for all Florida citizens.
“Senator Rubio and Senator Nelson continue to provide responsive and unwavering leadership in support of Florida’s safety net hospitals. Their dedication helps make it possible for TGH to continue providing the highest level of quality health care in the Tampa Bay region.
“We want to thank both Senators for again standing up for Florida’s safety net hospitals and the people we serve.”

The Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida enthusiastically supports Rubio’s legislation.