Congressman Remains Committed to Quality Healthcare
WASHINGTON - U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ, 8th) is urging Medicare officials to incorporate a new federal proposal that would provide more than $110 million annually in increased Medicare payments for New Jersey Hospitals in Bergen, Hudson and Passaic counties.
In a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Mark McClellan, Pascrell and members of the New Jersey delegation voiced strong support for a measure that would help equalize the Medicare reimbursement system that has unfairly impacted New Jersey hospitals for years.
"This shift is a huge win for New Jersey hospitals and ultimately for the patients they serve," stated Pascrell. "We can no longer operate our hospitals on the cheap - this allocation is long overdue and will directly improve staff levels and services."
At issue is the new Fiscal Year 2005 Inpatient Prospective Payment System that would implement new Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs) for purposes of calculating the Medicare wage index. Under this provision, Bergen, Hudson and Passaic counties would be folded into the New York City Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) bringing added Medicare dollars.
"Finally the federal government recognizes that these markets need to be thought of as one," added Pascrell. "The close proximity of our hospitals to New York City has yielded an unfair and unnecessary competition for capital and labor. It is about time New Jersey hospitals got their fair share."
" New Jersey is a leader in medical innovation and technology. How can we settle for less? We have waited long enough and refuse to tolerate substandard conditions."
Studies have shown that commuting patterns and the cost of living in northern New Jersey are statistically linked to New York City, despite state borders. Specifically, the 21 affected hospitals in Bergen, Hudson and Passaic counties are closer in workforce identity and distance to Manhattan than hospitals in upstate New York already included in the New York City MSA.
"A continuation in disparity would devastate efforts to recruit and retain staff. We must ensure that patients have the proper care to which they are entitled."