WHA and Members Meet with Congressional Delegation in D.C.

Key issues: site-neutral payments, GME, transparency

April 16, 2019

The Wisconsin Hospital Association and leaders from hospitals and health systems from across the state traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with all 10 of Wisconsin’s Congressional Delegation on April 9. Those participating included John Russell of Columbus Community Hospital, Dan DeGroot of Stoughton Hospital Association, Michael Loy of North Central Health Care, Tony Curry of Advocate Aurora, Brad Wolters of Marshfield Clinic, Jeremy Levin of Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative, Jan Molaska, Peg Larson, and Ron Williams of Partners of WHA, as well as Eric Borgerding and Jon Hoelter of WHA. Among the main discussioin topics were concerns about site-neutral payments, federal support for graduate medical education (GME), and support for health care price transparency.

WHA’s group of hospital advocates thanked the entire delegation for their unified support on two recent issues WHA has long supported related to workforce and value-based payments. The entire House delegation signed onto legislation introduced by Congressmen Kind and Gallagher, the Advancing Medical Resident Training in Communities Act, which would fix an issue that has led to artificially low GME caps for a handful of hospitals across the country, including two in Wisconsin. The group also asked the delegation to support HR 1763 & S 348, legislation that would add 15,000 new federally funded GME slots and help states like Wisconsin reduce their health care workforce shortage.

The hospital leaders urged lawmakers to reverse the site-neutral cuts enacted by CMS in last fall’s outpatient rule. Instead, they encouraged officials to focus on more value-based payment reforms and thanked the delegation for signing onto a letter encouraging CMS to reform the physician self-referral law, more commonly known as the Stark Law. Instead of piecemeal cuts, like site-neutral payments, more value-based payments would reward states like Wisconsin that rank high for quality and value.

Lastly, WHA’s hospital leaders voiced support for Congress’ recent efforts to improve health care price transparency and reduce instances of surprise billing.

“WHA has been a strong supporter of transparency, reporting meaningful price and quality data to consumers for more than 15 years through PricePoint and CheckPoint. Our commitment to transparency has positioned Wisconsin as a national leader in the drive to promote high-quality, high-value health care,” said Eric Borgerding, WHA President and CEO. “I want to thank everyone who joined us for this very important trip to meet with our federal officials. This was an excellent opportunity to let lawmakers know of our support for their efforts to make health care more consumer friendly, as well as other reforms they can make to help promote and incentivize more value-based care and grow our health care workforce.”

This story originally appeared in the April 16, 2019 edition of WHA Newsletter