The 2013-2014 legislative session begins January 2013. During the 2013-2014 term, HAP will be working on the following priorities:
Protecting Medicaid—Over two million Pennsylvanians, including senior citizens, the disabled, and children, rely on Medical Assistance for their health care. In addition, the Affordable Care Act calls on states to expand their Medicaid programs. Doing so will help offset the more than $8 billion in federal cuts facing Pennsylvania hospitals during the next ten years. Because the commonwealth faces another difficult budget in state fiscal year 2013-2014, HAP will work to:
Preserve state Medical Assistance payments to hospitals, including all supplemental funding.
Secure legislation to re-authorize the Quality Care Assessment.
Advocate for full state implementation of the Affordable Care Act, including the expansion of the state’s Medicaid program.
Enacting medical liability reform—HAP will continue to make it a top priority to improve Pennsylvania’s legal climate. During 2013, HAP will:
Seek continued phase-out of the Mcare Fund.
Seek passage of apology rule legislation.
Seek to strengthen certificate of merit procedures.
Updating hospital state licensure requirements—HAP will continue to seek legislation to update state hospital licensure regulations, including the use of national accreditation standards for those hospitals that are accredited.
Maintaining a strong workforce—Pennsylvania needs a regulatory environment that allows for flexibility in the workplace, removes barriers to care, and ensures accountability with patients and the public. As a result, HAP will make it a priority during 2013 to:
Block legislation that mandates nurse-to-patient ratios, creates nurse staffing committees and forces hospitals to implement decisions made by a committee, or any other unfunded staffing mandate on a hospital.
Block legislation that threatens the rights of employees to make their own decisions regarding unionization, and support legislation that preserves the current unionization election process.
Advocate for use of health professionals to the full extent of their education and training.
Protecting free market competition for health care providers and insurers—HAP will continue to oppose any legislation that threatens the integrity of the negotiating process between hospitals/health systems and insurers, including legislation to amend Act 94 to increase government intrusion into hospital and Blue Cross plan contracting. In addition, HAP will continue to oppose certificate of need legislation.
Protecting the purely public charity status of hospitals—In response to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision in Mesivtah Eitz Chaim of Bobov, Inc. v. Pike County Board of Assessment Appeals in which the Court reinstituted the HUP case criteria for review of tax-exempt status, HAP will:
Seek legislation to amend the state constitution that clarifies that it is the purview of the legislature, and not the courts, to determine the specific criteria for what determines a purely public charity for the purpose of being tax exempt.
Block changes to Act 55 of 1997 (The Institutions of Purely Public Charity Act) that would threaten the tax-exempt status of hospitals.
Promoting health care as an economic driver—Hospitals continue to provide increased contributions to the state’s economy—in 55 of 67 counties, hospitals remain among the top five employers, providing family sustaining jobs with solid benefits. In total, Pennsylvania’s hospital industry is responsible for nearly 600,000 jobs and $100 billion in state economic activity.
HAP will continue to educate policymakers and the public about the economic contributions of hospitals in the commonwealth.