February 19, 2014 -
Proposed Legislation would Increase Medicaid Outpatient Reimbursement to 70% of Cost
OLYMPIA –Olympic Medical Center is actively working to secure a Sole Community Hospital bill in the Washington State legislature. The bill recently passed the Senate 47-1, with sponsorship of Senator James Hargrove, and is now in the House for consideration.
“We appreciate the leadership of Senator Hargrove and are thankful for his efforts to pass this bill in the Senate,” says Eric Lewis, chief executive officer, Olympic Medical Center. “We now look to our local House representatives and sponsors of the house bill, Steve Tharinger and Kevin Van De Wege, to make this legislation a priority.”
Olympic Medical Center also seeks the support of Rep. Eileen Cody (West Seattle, House Health Care Committee), and House Speaker Frank Chopp.
Olympic Medical Center is seeking participation from the community to email these House representatives to encourage them to strongly support Sole Community Hospital legislation. More information, a sample message, along with links to the contact forms for the representatives, can be found at www.OlympicMedical.org and clicking on the “Legislative Advocacy” button.
About the Sole Community Hospital Bill (SB 5859)
If successful, the Sole Community Hospital bill would result in a 25% increase in reimbursement for Medicaid outpatient services. Specifically, the bill would raise reimbursement from 55% of the cost of care to approximately 70% of cost – a reimbursement increase of approximately $ 1 million to Olympic Medical Center annually. This bill seeks to benefit struggling Grays Harbor Community Hospital in Aberdeen as well, which has a significant Medicaid-covered population.
“Olympic Medical Center serves a rural population too large to be treated as a Critical Access Hospital, but does not have the payer mix advantages – specifically commercial payers – of urban hospitals,” explains Lewis. “We face the same challenges as a Critical Access Hospitals, but are reimbursed like an urban hospital. Recognizing Olympic Medical Center as a Sole Community Hospital at the state level would help bridge this divide for adequate reimbursement in regards to outpatient Medicaid services.”
The primary goal of this bill is to protect the community – specifically the most fragile residents, the elderly and the needy. Sole Community Hospitals such as Olympic Medical Center serve these most vulnerable citizens, helping them avoid the expense and challenges of traveling long distances to receive care. Olympic Medical also employs more than 1,100 people and is by all measure the largest economic contributor to the Clallam County economy. “This bill protects health care in our community, but also protects middle-class wage jobs and helps maintain a strong economic pillar in our community,” says Lewis.
Olympic Medical Center (Clallam County Public Hospital District No. 2) is a comprehensive, award-winning health care provider for more than 70,000 residents of Clallam County. It has served the community since its establishment on Nov. 1, 1951, and is governed by a seven-member, publicly elected board. Olympic Medical is a sole community hospital and rural referral center, and a charter member of both the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (2003) and the Swedish Health Network (2011). Olympic Medical provides inpatient services at its 80-bed acute-care facility in Port Angeles, including a level-three trauma designated emergency department, surgical services, and labor and delivery. OMC’s outpatient services include cardiac, imaging, physical therapy and rehabilitation, laboratory, sleep medicine, surgical services, home health, physician clinics and comprehensive regional cancer care at locations in Port Angeles and Sequim.