2013 State Issues
Adequate reimbursement for Medicaid services. Olympic Medical Center is one of four large rural hospitals (greater than 25 inpatient beds; OMC has 80 inpatient beds), that have been designated by the federal government as a Sole Community Hospital. OMC is working with elected state officials to be designated as a Sole Community Hospital by the state, and receive adequate reimbursement that is closer to the cost of services. Senator Hargrove, Representative Van De Wege and Representative Tharinger have sponsored legislation which will designate Olympic Medical Center and three other large rural hospitals as Sole Community Hospitals for state purposes. This designation will increase each hospital’s reimbursement closer to the costs of providing care for Medicaid enrollees. OMC is currently paid approximately 58% of costs for Medicaid outpatient services and this legislation would increase Medicaid outpatient reimbursement to approximately 73% of costs.
OMC would like to thank our elected representatives for their support in sponsoring this legislation. Please consider letting your elected representatives know about your support for their efforts.
Click here for a template letter of support that you can mail to elected representatives.
Maintaining the Medicaid Certified Public Expenditure program for large district hosptials. This program helps OMC receive Medicaid inpatient reimbursement that is closer to costs by taking advantage of Federal matching dollars, and is essential for OMC’s continued viability.
State Policy Priorities:
Medicaid expansion – Extend Medicaid to cover 325,000 new Medicaid enrollees in the State including an estimated 4,000 to 4,500 Clallam County residents who are currently uninsured, and take advantage of federal funding. Click here for more information.
Telehealth – Assure payment for services provided using telehealth technology to support cost-effective access to specialty services which is an important benefit of Olympic Medical Center’s Affiliation with Swedish Medical Center. House Bill 1448 on telehealth service has been approved by the House and has moved to the Senate. Please consider contacting Senator Hargrove to ask for his support of House Bill 1448. Click here to email Senator Hargrove. Click here for more information on HB 1448.
Community Electronic Health Records - Allow hospital donation of electronic health systems to independent physicians, and other practices permitted by the federal law, in Washington State. Click here for more information.
Mental Health – Support continued funding and improvements to the mental health system to increase access to necessary care for people living with a mental illness. Click here for more information.
2013 Federal Issues
Approximately 56% of Olympic Medical Center’s patients are covered by Medicare. Therefore, adequate reimbursement for Medicare services is critical to the future financial viability of Olympic Medical Center. The challenge we face is that Medicare currently pays approximately 85% of costs, and further Medicare reimbursement reductions are being proposed. These continued reimbursement cuts threaten local access to needed physician and other health care services. The following Medicare reimbursement reductions have already occurred:
As part of the “Fiscal Cliff” legislation, Medicare inpatient reimbursement was reduced by approximately 2.5% starting on October 1, 2013 for four years. This will reduce Olympic Medical Center’s Medicare inpatient reimbursement by approximately $500,000 annually during this four-year period.
Sequestration will reduce all Medicare reimbursement by 2% effective April 1, 2013 which will reduce Olympic Medical Center’s Medicare reimbursement by approximately $100,000 per month starting in April. This reimbursement reduction of $1.2 million annually will further reduce Medicare payments below the cost of providing needed local services to Medicare enrollees.
Federal Policy Priorities:
Stop further Medicare reimbursement reductions in order to protect local services that are needed by the over 16,000 Medicare enrollees in Clallam County.
Protect Medicare reimbursement for physician services so that access to needed health care is maintained. We already have a physician shortage in Clallam County – further reductions will make the situation worse.
Maintain current reimbursement for physician services at hospital outpatient departments. Congress is considering a Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) recommendation that would reduce Medicare payment between 65% and 80% for 10 of the most common physician outpatient hospital departments. These physician services are already paid below the cost of providing these services. This recommendation does not consider rural areas with large populations of Medicare and Medicaid patients like Clallam County, nor does it consider the costs of hospital space and the regulatory costs of maintaining hospital departments. Click here for more information
We encourage you to write your Federal elected representatives to let them know your thoughts on adequate Medicare funding.
What OMC is doing
OMC’s active Legislative Advocacy Committee meets monthly and engages with legislators on important state and federal issues affecting health care in our community. The committee includes OMC Board Commissioners John Miles, MD, Jim Leskinovitch and John Beitzel and CEO Eric Lewis.
The committee also leads a Community Advocacy Committee with community partners, in an effort to strengthen support for adequate funding for local health care issues with state and federal representatives.
What you can do
Take an active role in helping to solve the health care crisis! Educate yourself about current issues facing the industry, and ask your state and federal representatives to ensure adequate funding for health care providers in Washington State. Click here to visit the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Legislative Advocacy website, Patients Action Network. Resources on this topic are also found at the AMA’s main website, www.ama-assn.org and at the Washington State Hospital Association’s (WSHA) website, www.wsha.org.
Write to your legislators. Your letters count! Let your legislators know how you feel about health care decisions. After all, legislators rely on constituent input in order to be effective. Click here to read the American Medical Association’s publication, “A Guide to Communicating with Members of Congress.”
Click here for contact information for federal representatives.
Click here for contact information for state representatives.
For more information on the work OMC is doing on Legislative Advocacy, email firstname.lastname@example.org.