UHCA Praises Sen. Orrin Hatch for Assertive Questioning of CMS Administrator Berwick Before Senate Finance Committee

November 17, 2010

Discussion of $500 Billion Medicare Cuts in Federal Health Reform Bill Underscores Senator’s Understanding of Utah Seniors’ Needs and Concerns

SALT LAKE CITY, Nov. 17, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – Praising Utah Senator Orrin Hatch’s assertive questioning of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Donald Berwick in a hearing today before the Senate Finance Committee, the Utah Health Care Association (UHCA) said Senator Hatch correctly raised important questions about $500 billion cuts to U.S. seniors’ Medicare benefits — a central component of the federal health care reform law passed earlier this year.

“As he always has, Senator Hatch zeroed in on a matter that has enormous implications to the lives and well being of Utah’s seniors, and his assertive questioning of CMS Administrator Berwick today has served to spotlight the fact the enormous Medicare cuts contained in the federal health care law are counterproductive to meeting seniors’ growing care needs,” stated Dirk Anjewierden, Executive Director of UHCA. “Skilled nursing facilities across Utah are already forced to operate with extremely thin margins, and the deep Medicare cuts from Washington make our mission still more challenging. We also thank him for specifically mentioning the many challenges faced by seniors and facilities in rural America, and this is a matter requiring more attention.”

Anjewierden said that as the nature of Utah’s skilled nursing and rehab patient population continues to evolve, policymakers should support efforts to help facilities care for higher-acuity, post-acute Medicare beneficiaries. “Adequate cumulative funding helps more of our oldest, sickest seniors return home more quickly – and this is a positive trend we seek to continue.” The UHCA Executive Director said facilities throughout Utah have invested heavily in recent years to increase capabilities to admit, treat and return to home a growing number of patients requiring intensive rehabilitative care. This is a clear benefit to both Utah seniors as well as taxpayers, he said.

“The bottom line is the Medicare funding cuts passed in Washington as part of health reform inhibit facilities’ continued investment in cost effective care – and we thank Senator Hatch for raising these big picture funding issues in today’s Senate Finance Committee hearing,” Anjewierden concluded.

SOURCE Utah Health Care Association

Source: newswire

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