GOVERNOR’S 2017–2018 BUDGET PROPOSAL MAINTAINS HOSPITAL PAYMENTS TO SUPPORT A STRONG, HEALTHY COMMONWEALTH
February 07, 2017
News Release: The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) today issued the following statement from President and CEO Andy Carter in response to Governor Tom Wolf’s 2017–2018 state budget proposal:
“During Governor Wolf’s budget address, he challenged us to work together for the good of all Pennsylvanians, including children, older adults, our most vulnerable citizens, and a stronger middle class. Today the Governor has released a state budget plan that recognizes the importance of the health care delivery system as part of the plan to achieve that goal.
“In his budget, the Governor joins the state legislature in supporting essential patient care services, including critical access hospitals, trauma care, obstetrics/neonatal care, and burn care centers. These state funds provide stability for hospitals and health systems as they work to transition health care to a more patient-centric, population health-focused, and cost-efficient model. Predictable funding is more important than ever, especially given the uncertainty about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) at the federal level.
“The Governor also took steps to combine health and human services-related agencies in order to provide Pennsylvanians with more efficient, cost-effective services. The Governor’s efforts to better integrate services and eliminate a silo approach to supporting and regulating health care is worthy of consideration and further analysis.
“Many health care regulations lag behind the significant changes that have taken place in care delivery. Instead of episodes of care, such as during hospitalizations, hospitals and health systems now look at care throughout their patients’ entire lives.
“Providers are most effective when they can work more closely to coordinate patient care, test payment alternatives, incorporate new and innovative models of care, and share data. We will continue to encourage state policymakers to support legislative and regulatory changes that underscore this way of delivering care.
“The Governor’s proposed rural global payment pilot is another example of the many innovative approaches that could hold promise for rural hospitals. One out of every three rural Pennsylvania hospitals has a negative total margin. These hospitals need adequate funding to maintain health care services and improve the health of their patients and communities.
“HAP looks forward to working with the Administration and the General Assembly to forge paths forward to ensure the sustainability of health care services in rural Pennsylvania.”
Carter noted that the Governor’s proposed budget did not incorporate any funding measures designed to anticipate potential changes to the ACA at the federal level:
“To ensure continuity of coverage and a sustainable health care system, we must preserve coverage for more than 1.1 million Pennsylvanians who have benefited from ACA provisions, including the federal Health Insurance Marketplace, Medicaid expansion, and dependent coverage.
“As state and federal elected officials grapple with these difficult issues, the hospital community stands ready to demonstrate the significant impact a strong investment in health care has on Pennsylvania's families and communities.”