On Friday afternoon, November 11, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer made
a quick stop at Cortland Regional to talk about the importance of Sole
Community Hospitals (SCH) and Medicare Dependent Hospitals (MDH), like
Cortland Regional and the recent attempts by the Centers for Medicare
and Medicaid Services (CMS) to retroactively recoup critical funds.
Senator Schumer was joined by Mark Webster, President and CEO of Cortland
Regional Medical Center and hospital leadership, as well as several members
of Cortland Regional’s Board of Trustees and local community leaders.
Schumer emphasized the importance of community hospitals like Cortland
Regional which are often the only places for emergency care in a rural
area. Though these hospitals provide a critical service to the community
and, very often, a large senior citizen population, they are also struggling
with the financial impact of decreasing patient volumes. As a result,
the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provide the supplemental
funding that is necessary to continue doing business.
Recently, CMS decided to change a calculation used to determine specific
funding for SCHs and MDHs. CMS has decided to go after hospitals to try
and retroactively recoup funds based on this new formula. These retroactive
repayments could potentially total between $15 and $20 million. Schumer
said this is completely unfair, and is demanding that CMS immediately
reverse course on this action.
President Mark Webster reinforced the Senator’s stance, stating,
“We are one of 16 hospitals the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
Services (CMS) has targeted to take back funds earned in 2013. Those funds
were intended to provide support for safety net hospitals that had experienced
an unforeseeable inpatient decrease of five percent or more in one year.
We followed the rules and received those funds in 2015, only for CMS to
declare that they reinterpreted the rules and to demand the money back.
Cortland Regional stands to lose $1.4 million if CMS prevails, and they
are demanding those funds be paid back within 15 days or we will be charged
a 9.625% interest rate. Simply put, the federal government should not
force a retroactive repayment of Medicare funds it had previously approved
– those dollars have already been spent to serve our community.
Senator Schumer understands the challenges facing small community hospitals
like ours, and he has been a tireless advocate for rural healthcare. We
are deeply grateful for his efforts and leadership on this issue.”
To learn more about the CMS retroactive “claw back” and Senator
Schumer’s ongoing work, it, please go to
Senator Schumer’s website.