Hospital: General Assembly is considering legislation that could hurt rural healthcare

The following news release was submitted by Logansport Memorial Hospital:

Legislation approved by a Senate Committee will devastate rural hospitals.  The bill, H.B. 1004, passed the Senate Health and Provider Services Committee and contains language to drastically cut reimbursement to hospitals for services and procedures that are provided in hospital outpatient departments and at off-site locations. If the legislation passes, Logansport Memorial, other rural facilities in northcentral Indiana, and hospitals statewide, will be forced to reevaluate their current service offerings.

“I am shocked and dismayed that the General Assembly is seriously considering passing this legislation, especially considering the potential impact on rural health care. People in rural communities count on hospitals to be there when they need us –This legislation puts that at risk,” comments Logansport Memorial Hospital President and CEO Perry Gay.

The bill includes provisions that will allow the legislature to override private contracts between hospitals and insurance companies. At issue is a provision to require hospitals to provide the location of the service address, referred to as site of service, on the form it submits to insurers for physician or hospital reimbursement. Hospitals had agreed to the transparency measure if it was consistent with Medicare’s approach.

However, after agreeing in principal, the insurance companies, including Anthem, the state’s largest, rejected the measure and now are pushing for language that would override private contracts between hospitals and insurers, resulting in lower payments.

“Instead of paying hospitals for services that they are providing, insurance companies will see a windfall,” said Perry Gay. “All at a time when almost 50% of rural facilities are operating with negative margins. We simply will not be able to afford to maintain current service levels if these drastic payment reductions are passed. Painful decisions will need to be made,” Gay added.“

As proposed, the legislation will take effect on July 1, 2020. Many facilities will begin immediately evaluating their service offerings, taking into consideration community need and other factors. We are continuing to reach out to our local legislators to make sure they understand the impact,” said Gay.

He went on to say, “Although I am CEO at Logansport Memorial Hospital, it’s not just Logansport and Cass County that I consider for potential impact on this legislation. Communities like Peru, Rochester, Delphi, Camden, Winamac, and others across north central Indiana would be affected. Existing hospitals in these communities would be affected financially in very negative ways. I don’t want to see that happen, to see the devastation that would have on patients and healthcare services in our north central Indiana region,” said Gay.

If you are concerned about the potential impact of this legislation and want to make your voice heard, you can reach out to your elected officials and ask them to oppose H.B.1004 site of service language in its current form, because it takes away access to care for patients in our community. You can visit http://iga.in.gov/legislative/find-legislators to find the legislators that represent you. You will be provided with a link to your representative’s website and can obtain contact information from there. If you consider contacting your legislators and decide to move forward, please make sure you have done so by 9:00 am on Monday, March 2, 2020 in order to be considered and counted in time.

Your voice will matter and make a difference if you decide to share it. Hospitals across the state face challenges every day in not only meeting the needs of our patients, but also in meeting the standards set forth by state and government agencies, insurance companies, and others. But through it all, patient care always remains the top priority.
“I can speak for Logansport Memorial Hospital and say that our goal and our focus remains on doing what’s right and what’s best for every patient, every time, when he or she chooses us for their healthcare needs,” concludes Gay. “Regardless of the outcomes of this legislation, no matter how impactful or damaging they potentially could be, we will never waver from our commitment to our patients. We will adjust and work to remain financially strong with the help of our providers and employees to continue providing the services that you and your family need, right here, close to home.”
SOURCE: News release from Logansport Memorial Hospital
Logansport Memorial Hospital is an 83-bed, HFAP accredited, regional medical center providing healthcare services to residents in Cass County and the surrounding areas of north central Indiana.
Logansport Memorial Hospital complies with all Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.