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Rule Change Could Help Local Hospitals


It’s something he’s been pushing for it for years and on Friday Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer announced he’s been successful in obtaining a proposed rule change that would increase the Medicare Wage Index for upstate hospitals. The New York Democrat says upstate hospitals could receive a nearly $1 billion increase in funding every year, something he says should lead to better health care.

“For far too long, Upstate New York hospitals have faced unfairly low Medicare payments that fell terribly short of wage demands leaving hospitals struggling to compete to bring the best doctors and nurses to Upstate New York. After years of fighting though, the feds have finally shifted course, and proposed a new rule that can help finally rectify the unfair payment system, and give Upstate NY the shot in the arm it has long needed to the tune of nearly a billion dollars every single year,” said Senator Schumer. “This means that hospitals from Buffalo to Albany and Watertown to Binghamton, big and small, in rural and urban areas, can get the support they have long deserved. I will use all my clout as majority leader to push CMS to finalize this proposed wage increase, and I won’t stop until Upstate NY hospitals get the full reimbursements they have been denied for too long.”

FY2024 Hospital Inpatient PPS Proposed Rule would amend the Medicare formula to include $967+ million in increased federal funding for hospital systems across Upstate New York, which for years have received less than the national average for the services they provide.

Schumer explained that the Medicare Wage Index rate is used to determine how much money the U.S. government pays hospitals for labor costs when they treat Medicare patients. Each metro area is assigned a rate that dictates whether they receive more or less than the national average for health care labor costs. For example, since the 1980s, hospitals in the Albany area have received only 86 percent of what the average hospital receives to account for wages, which is not reflective of the true wages and labor market in Albany. The FY24 Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) proposed rule would increase the Capital Region’s adjustment to 122 percent of what the average hospital receives in wage adjustments, finally acknowledging that the region needs much higher than averages wages to compete and bring in the best providers, thereby bringing hundreds of millions in federal funding to Capital Region hospitals each year.

A full breakdown of the estimated impact for impacted hospitals across Upstate New York annually can be found below:



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