WASHINGTON, D.C., February 24, 2023 — U.S. Senator Katie Britt (R-Ala.), a member of the subcommittee for Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, and Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), joined a bipartisan group of 12 additional senators urging for the extension of a policy that helps rural hospitals in states like Alabama continue delivering quality care to their communities.
In a letter to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, the senators formally requested a four-year extension of the Low Wage Index Hospital Policy, which allows hospitals in rural areas to compete for, and retain, high-quality staff by increasing reimbursements to hospitals in rural areas with lower overall wages. Without action, Medicare payments to these hospitals will reduce after September 30, 2023.
“Unfortunately, due to disruptions in the marketplace caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have not had the opportunity to see the true impact of the Low Wage Index Hospital Policy envisioned by CMS,” the Senators wrote. “Extending the Low Wage Index Hospital Policy for four additional years will allow hospitals and the agency to better understand the policy’s true impact in a more normal environment.”
Senators Britt and Tuberville were joined by Senators Mark Warner (D-Va.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.).
“Our rural families and communities depend on the medical services and potentially life-saving treatments that local hospitals provide,” said U.S. Senator Katie Britt. “Every Alabamian deserves access to quality care and the opportunity to thrive in safe, strong communities – no matter their zip code.”
A copy of the letter can be found here.