House approves Tiberi bill to improve hospital access, treatment options

The House of Representatives unanimously approved legislation on Tuesday that U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH) introduced to help improve hospital accessibility, treatment options and reimbursements models.

The Helping Hospitals Improve Patient Care (HIP-C) Act, H.R. 5273, would take steps to provide regulatory relief to medical providers, promote access to care in rural areas and protect access to services by Medicare beneficiaries.

“H.R. 5273 strikes the right balance of preserving site neutral payment policy and providing essential relief for hospitals that were caught up in this policy change from last year’s budget deal,” Tiberi said. “Specifically, this bill helps many hospitals in the state of Ohio. An OhioHealth hospital in my district will be able to benefit from full outpatient payments under this bill. Further, the James Cancer Center—part of my alma mater the Ohio State University—will have their special cancer designation protected under the bill.”

Tiberi, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, convened three hearings on matters related to the HIP-C Act.

The bill includes key provisions authored by U.S. Reps. Diane Black (R-TN), Vern Buchanan (R-FL), Mike Kelly (R-PA) and Jim Renacci (R-OH).

“Diane Black’s bill that provides physicians who primarily practice medicine in ambulatory surgical centers relief in the electronic health records program; Vern Buchanan’s bill ensuring full access to Medicare Advantage plans; and Mike Kelly’s bill requiring fair and transparent reporting, by congressional district, on the enrollment of beneficiaries in both traditional fee-for-service Medicare and Medicare Advantage,” were included, Tiberi said.

A provision led by Renacci to improve the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program (HRRP) was also included in the bill to address hospital access for Medicare beneficiaries.

“While we do want to ensure hospitals are reducing acute care readmissions, we also want to make sure we are not disproportionately penalizing those who see a large number of our most vulnerable patient populations who tend to have a higher rate of readmissions due to no fault of the hospital,” Renacci said. “I have heard from many Ohio hospitals, especially our teaching hospitals, about the impact this policy — and others from the Affordable Care Act — was going to have on them and I’m glad we’re starting to fix these concerns in this larger health package passed (on Tuesday). We must continue our efforts in the House to promote greater access, increase choices, and improve the quality of health care.”

In a floor speech, Tiberi said that Renacci championed the provision for some time.

“Jim’s policy ensures that the hospital readmissions program provides an apples-to-apples comparison based on the specific patient population a hospital treats,” Tiberi said.

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