With “fiscal cliff” negotiations underway between the Obama Administration and Congress, the Premier provider alliance is asking lawmakers to not further financially punish providers, who are making progress in improving care while reducing costs.

“With the majority of our nation’s hospitals already operating with negative margins and underpaid by both the Medicare and Medicaid programs, policymakers need to look for ways to incent behaviors for those organizations that are measurably improving patient care and lowering overall program costs,” Premier contends in a letter to members of Congress. “The changes required by the federal government’s health information technology goals, coupled with the regulatory and legislative financial adjustments, make the investments necessary to achieve an outcomes platform highly problematic. This should not be the case, and should not be an either/or situation. The federal health care programs need the support and investment necessary to make these changes as well as reward providers who are achieving savings for the government by exempting them from across the board payment cuts.”

The letter went to House and Senate leaders; members of the House Budget, Energy and Commerce, and Ways and Means Committees; and the Senate Budget, Finance, and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committees.

In the letter, Premier asks for acceleration of several existing value-based payment programs and creation of a national, voluntary bundled payment program. It also calls for appropriate payment for core services such as evaluation and management, as they enable integrated care that ultimately lowers costs. Text of the letter is available here.

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