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Fast Tracked Spending Plan Includes Increase for Critical Access Hospitals, Work on Assessment and State Contribution from QCA Continues

June 20, 2018

Earlier today, the state House of Representatives voted 188 to 10 to send House Bill 2121 (the 2018­­–2019 General Appropriations bill) to the Senate for approval. Included in the measure is an additional $3.4 million to cover increased Medicaid losses suffered by Pennsylvania’s critical access hospitals.

The necessary revenue sources to fund House Bill 2121 are not part of the General Appropriations bill. However, state budgeteers currently intend to cover part of next year’s fiscal costs with a $75 million increase in the amount the commonwealth takes from the hospital Quality Care Assessment (QCA).

In a statement issued yesterday in response to media inquiries about the QCA, HAP President and CEO, Andy Carter, said, “The hospital community understands the need for additional resources, but a $75 million increase in the amount of money going to the general fund is still unsustainable.

“As state policymakers continue their work, they need to understand what is at risk if such a jump remains in this budget plan. With a third of Pennsylvania hospitals operating with razor-thin margins, access to primary care and specialty services may be at risk, as hospital leaders may be forced to make difficult decisions about their futures.

“We cannot let the needs of the general fund rob the hospital community’s potential to invest in health care.”

HAP’s position on the $75 million increase appeared in numerous statewide and several national news articles.

The state Senate has already moved House Bill 2121 out of its Appropriations Committee, and the Senate could approve the budget bill before the end of the week.

In addition to House Bill 2121, work continues on the legislation necessary to reauthorize the QCA.

HAP will keep members posted about all legislative action related to the state budget process. For additional information, please contact Scott Bishop, HAP’s senior vice-president, legislative advocacy; Stephanie Watkins, HAP’s vice-president, state legislative advocacy; Timothy Ohrum, HAP’s vice president, grassroots advocacy; or Jeff Bechtel, HAP’s senior vice president, health economics and policy.

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