February 27, 2019

Ask Congress to delay Medicaid DSH cuts

The Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) program assists hospitals serving high numbers of Medicaid and uninsured patients. There are $4 billion in Medicaid DSH reductions scheduled to begin Oct. 1, 2019. The start of the cuts has been delayed by Congress—in a bipartisan manner—multiple times to date.

We ask you to contact your U.S. senators and U.S. representative to urge congressional leaders to delay the start of the Medicaid DSH cuts. Currently, about half of all hospitals in the United States receive DSH payments to address Medicaid underpayment and uncompensated care, which allow them to provide critical community services such as trauma and burn care, high-risk neonatal care and disaster preparedness resources.

National hospital organizations, including the Catholic Health Association of the United States and the American Hospital Association, sent a letter on Feb. 19 urging congressional leaders to delay the start of the Medicaid disproportionate share hospital cuts.

"Congress recognized the critical nature of fully funding the Medicaid DSH program by delaying the start of the cuts for the past seven years," the groups wrote. "We urge you to once again delay the start of the Medicaid DSH cuts given the vital need for this program."

The Affordable Care Act reduced payments to the Medicaid DSH program under the assumption that uncompensated care costs would decrease as health care coverage increased. "Unfortunately, the coverage rates envisioned under the ACA have not been fully realized, and tens of millions of Americans remain uninsured," the groups wrote. "In addition, Medicaid underpayment continues to pose ongoing financial challenges for hospitals treating our nation's most vulnerable citizens."

Please urge Congress to delay the start of the Medicaid DSH cuts so we can continue to provide critical community services. A sample letter is available here on e-Advocacy.

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From its Cleveland headquarters, the Sisters of Charity Health System provides oversight, leadership and strategic direction to more than 20 organizations responding to community needs in Canton and Cleveland, Ohio, and South Carolina.

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