Honesdale, Wayne County- Wayne Memorial Hospital officials are pleased that the United States Congress has authorized the reinstatement of the Medicare Dependent Hospital (MDH) program, which is designed specifically to help small rural hospitals who serve a disproportionate number of Medicare patients. Wayne Memorial Hospital (WMH) stood to lose approximately $2 million a year with the expiration of the program on September 30, 2012.
"We are very fortunate that lawmakers understood our financial predicament and acted to restore the MDH program," said Chief Financial Officer Michael Clifford. He noted that Pennsylvania's two senators, Bob Casey (D) and Pat Toomey (R), as well as U.S. Representative Tom Marino (R) voted in favor of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. The "fiscal cliff" compromise, which contained the MDH extension, was reached late in the day January 1, 2013--the eleventh hour of negotiations.
Clifford and Chief Executive Officer David Hoff thanked all those on staff and in the community who answered their call to urge legislators to reinstate the MDH program.
"We believe that we, as a nonprofit community hospital, are here to serve," said Hoff, "and community support is crucial."
The hospital will also "receive reimbursements retroactive to October 1, 2012," added Clifford, "so at this point, we do not anticipate any curtailment of services due to the MDH status. And for that, we are also grateful."
Wayne Memorial is one of only 200 hospitals nationwide to hold the Medicare Dependent Hospital (MDH) status. To qualify, at least 60 percent of a hospital's inpatient days or discharges during two out of its three most recent fiscal years must be attributable to beneficiaries entitled to Medicare Part A. Hospital reimbursements for these patients are lower than for most other patients, including the privately insured. As a consequence Medicare payments un-enhanced by the MDH program pose special challenges for rural hospitals, according to Mr. Hoff and Mr. Clifford.
The extension is good for one year; it expires again September 30th, 2013.
"Let's hope we hear about a restoration earlier than we
did this time," said Hoff.
(From Wayne Memorial Hospital)