Kerry files bipartisan legislation to improve patient access to long term care
Senator John Kerry filed legislation late yesterday to ensure that Medicare patients are not denied access to critical long term care. The Medicare Long-Term Care Patient Safety and Improvement Act of 2007 would prevent Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) from arbitrarily limiting patient access to specialized treatment at long-term care hospitals. The legislation would also provide more than $1 billion in savings to the Medicare Trust Fund over the next ten years.
"Every Massachusetts resident should have access to our state's outstanding hospitals and rehabilitation facilities," Senator Kerry said. "This legislation will ensure that Medicare patients receive the first rate medical care they need and not the less appropriate care this Administration would force them to accept."
"By working in close collaboration with Acute Care Hospitals and other post-acute care settings, LTCHs ensure that the severely ill patients have access to the most cost-effective and appropriate care," says Massachusetts Hospital Association Interim CEO and President Robert E. Gibbons. "This bill furthers the goal of the recent Massachusetts health care reform law by ensuring that all patients have access to appropriate chronic care services by focusing on the patient's acute medical needs. This bill is good for patients and a great example of responsible legislative action by the Senate."
Senators Kent Conrad (D-North Dakota) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) are the lead co-sponsors of the bill. The legislation is endorsed by the major industry groups including the National Association of Long Term Hospitals, Acute Long Term Hospital Association, and American Hospital Association.