March 1, 2012
Michael Wallace, Fort HealthCare President and CEO was one of 150 hospital advocates from across the country in Washington, DC to participate in the American Hospital Association’s Capitol Hill Day. Attendees were in the nation’s capitol on February 15 and 16 to continue the fight against proposed government funding cuts to hospitals and to meet with Senators Herb Kohl and Ron Johnson and Representatives Tammy Baldwin, Sean Duffy, Ron Kind, Tom Petri and Reid Ribble.
Organized by the Wisconsin Hospital Association, Capitol Hill Day helped the hospital representatives voice their opposition to proposed hospital Medicare payment reductions. The reductions are especially significant when government health care programs like Medicare under-reimburse hospitals for the cost of care. During their meetings, hospital leaders pressed the issue of payment reductions; reminding legislators that Wisconsin hospitals are already facing billions of dollars in cuts from health reform implementation, yet continue to be leaders nationally in improving the quality of care delivered and serving as a safety net for those with little or no health insurance.
Wallace, along with other hospital representatives, reinforced to the members of Congress that Wisconsin hospitals are proven innovators and leaders in delivering value in healthcare. Hospitals are also significant economic contributors to their local and regional economies. In Wisconsin alone, hospitals generate $28 billion annually in economic activity and directly employ more than 110,000 people. According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, continued Medicare and Medicaid payment cuts will force hospitals to reassess services, programs and employment needs.
“Wisconsin will see the short end of the stick from Medicare cuts,” said Wallace. “We are already facing billions of dollars in cuts while doing great things in quality and efficiency.”
During his visit with the congressional delegation, Wallace described Fort HealthCare’s activities regarding the organization’s mission statement: To improve the health and well-being of our community. He also spoke of Fort HealthCare’s efforts to improve access to care and to reduce obesity throughout the community by encouraging good nutrition and increased exercise.