“New sequestration reductions will undermine these capabilities and the real progress that has been made to improve quality and reduce costs, and further cuts will stunt needed changes as we transition from our fee-for-service system. Considering the cuts hospitals are already incurring and their current progress toward deficit reduction, we ask that Congress mitigate the sequestration cuts for hospitals and instead enact alternative approaches that address the underlying causes of burgeoning healthcare spending.
“First, we urge Congress to take advantage of healthcare providers’ efforts to reduce spending by accelerating payment and delivery system reforms, particularly for non-acute care providers. The current fee-for-service payment system is misaligned with healthcare provider’s attempts to achieve coordinated and cost-effective healthcare. It is critical that new delivery system models, such as value-based purchasing, accountable care organizations and bundled payment programs, give providers levers to achieve real, long-term savings for the government. This will encourage those providers who are taking meaningful and measurable steps to reduce healthcare costs and manage care to move in that direction. Congress could, for instance, hasten the deadlines for value-based purchasing programs across the Medicare payment silos or develop a permanent national voluntary bundled payment program.
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