On the third Monday of February we celebrate Washington’s Birthday as a federal holiday. George Washington’s Birthday is commonly referred to as Presidents’ Day. This recognition day honors all past presidents of the United States, although it was probably established as a reminder that our nation’s “forefathers”, Lincoln and Washington, celebrated birthdays in February.
So, in Washington D.C., the House and Senate are scheduled to be out of session this week for the President’s Day recess, time to be spent with their own families and professions. They plan to return on Monday the 25th. That means four days before the across-the-board “sequestration” cuts are scheduled to take effect.
We have been advised, that hospitals and health systems should be prepared for a two (2) percent cut in Medicare reimbursement (which will apply to all healthcare providers, including McLeod Health). This reduction in payment would be triggered by the sequester on March 1st.
As reported by the news media, there will be a ‘hue and cry’ that will follow the cuts. This is expected to bring both sides back to the negotiating table to try and work out spending cuts and tax increases.
One thing is for sure, health care reimbursement for medical services will be reduced. That means we will have to take appropriate care of the patient … provide the surgery, the medications, the therapy, hospitalization and treatments … but for less payment than we previously received.
Two percent does not sound like a great deal, but it comes on the heels of a 7% cut in Medicaid last year as well as another series of payment cuts as part of the new Affordable Care Act, now in effect nationwide.
While future reimbursements and the economic climate for health care providers remains a bit uncertain and causes us all to be uneasy, we must continue to remain steadfast in our commitment to be compassionate, innovative and resourceful. We must work together as colleagues in caring for our patients, providing the best in service and attention. In addition to meeting the needs of our patients, we must be stewards of our finances, people and programs, finding safe and effective ways to remove the waste and reduce our cost.
Thank you for your service to others.