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Pascrell Leads New Jersey Delegation in Support of Low-Income Hospital Pilot Programs

Eight House members call on Biden administration to approve Garden State request for Medicaid assistance

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) today led seven member of the New Jersey congressional delegation writing to the Biden administration in support of New Jersey’s application to implement hospital pilot programs for seven low-income communities in Atlantic, Camden, Essex, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, and Passaic counties.

The letter to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure is signed by Reps. Pascrell, Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ-10), Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ-02), George Norcross (D-NJ-01), Albio Sires (D-NJ-08), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ-12), Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ-11), and Tom Malinowski (D-NJ-07).

“We urge the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to promptly review and consider the preprint applications for New Jersey to implement Medicaid directed payment programs in seven counties under 42 CFR § 438.6(c). It is our sincere hope that CMS will recognize the urgency of approving this program promptly particularly in light of the critical assistance it will provide to hospitals throughout the State of New Jersey as they continue to provide access to care and lifesaving services during these unprecedented times,” the members write.

The County Option Hospital Fee Pilot Program enables counties and hospitals to partner with the State to safeguard the continued health of New Jersey’s Medicaid program.

The Hospital Alliance of New Jersey (HANJ) expressed its support for the members’ letter: “Hospital Alliance is grateful to Congressman Pascrell and members of the delegation for recognizing the important role safety net hospitals have in protecting the health of our communities. Once approved, the County Option Hospital Fee Pilot Program will bring in millions of vital healthcare dollars for the benefit of critically vulnerable populations in New Jersey. This program is an important proactive step in moving toward a healthier and more sustainable Medicaid program for New Jersey hospitals and the people they serve,” said HANJ President and CEO Suzanne Ianni.

The full text of the members’ letter to the Biden administration is provided below.

 

June 9, 2021

 

The Honorable Chiquita Brooks-LaSure

Administrator

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Baltimore, MD 21244

 

Dear Administrator LaSure:

We write today to express our strong support for a package of seven preprint applications submitted by the State of New Jersey to implement the County Option Hospital Fee Pilot Program, a critical tool to ensure that hospitals can continue providing vital health care services to low-income residents in seven pilot counties throughout the State.

The State authority for the County Option Hospital Fee Pilot Program was enacted by the State in November 2018 and the regulatory framework for the program was finalized in March 2020. This program relies upon a Medicaid directed supplemental payment mechanism authorized under 42 CFR § 438.6(c) to target increased Medicaid funding to providers within seven pilot counties.

Counties eligible to participate in the program were determined based, in part, on the Municipal Revitalization Index rankings of the municipalities within their borders. These rankings measure municipal distress based on indicators of diverse aspects of social, economic, physical, and fiscal conditions. The Counties of Atlantic, Camden, Essex, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, and Passaic are eligible to participate, and each has elected to do so, demonstrating the mutual understanding by all stakeholders that this program will ensure hospitals are able to continue their important work providing services to critically vulnerable residents.

We urge the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to promptly review and consider the preprint applications for New Jersey to implement Medicaid directed payment programs in seven counties under 42 CFR § 438.6(c). It is our sincere hope that CMS will recognize the urgency of approving this program promptly particularly in light of the critical assistance it will provide to hospitals throughout the State of New Jersey as they continue to provide access to care and lifesaving services during these unprecedented times.

The program enables counties and hospitals to partner with the State to safeguard the continued health of New Jersey’s Medicaid program. New Jersey recognizes that now more than ever, it is important that we address the unique health care challenges of the Medicaid population by taking this proactive and innovative step toward health equity.

Thank you very much for your timely consideration of these applications.

Sincerely,

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