I'm blogging today from the American Hospital Association Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. While it's gray and gloomy here, we aren't getting the rain that my friends back home in New Jersey are getting.
Attendance is up this year at the AHA meeting. I suspect it's a combination of the economy improving and everyone wanting to get the latest and greatest news on how to position themselves for healthcare reform implementation. Today NJHA members are hearing from Congressman Frank Pallone, chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee. We are really pleased he could join us and share his inside-the-beltway perspective with leaders in our hospital community. Tomorrow we will hear from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and then hit the Hill for one-on-one meetings with members of the Garden State congressional delegation. We really value the opportunity to meet with our elected officials and discuss the issues that affect healthcare providers and our patients. We have some key New Jersey- specific issues (something called the "imputed rural floor" that deals with wage adjustments under the Medicare program and recoupment for disproportionate share hospitals) along with other national issues such as an onerous payment cut that looms for physicians and a new proposed inpatient payment rule that would take $11O million from N.J. hospitals next year. This rule would be devastating to our state. Both the physician pay cut and the hospital inpatient payment rule could severely impact our healthcare system's ability to provide the quality care our patients demand.
Our message to Congress is this: The hospital community agreed to cuts in the healthcare reform law as part of our commitment to insure more Americans, but these new proposed cuts are well above and beyond those agreements. We believe that by working in concert with our New Jersey delegation and the AHA, we can stop this harmful proposal.