TEACHING HOSPITALS: Bill Aims to End Medicare Inequities
Rep. Ken Bentsen (D-TX) campaigned yesterday for the All-Payer Graduate Medical Education Act, which would "require all private medical health plans to contribute to the cost of training residents" at teaching hospitals, and require Medicare to establish more equitable training subsidies, the AP/Ft. Worth Star-Telegram reports. According to a study published in the July 22 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, Medicare's reimbursement to hospitals for training residents varies by as much as $50,000 from one institution to the next. In one much-cited example, Houston-based Hermann Hospital receives $6,938 per resident while New York-based Beth Israel Medical Center receives $57,010. Bentsen said, "We all know that New York City is a more expensive place to live than Houston but there is no way the disparity in teaching costs and living costs are that great." The current funding levels originated in 1984, when hospitals submitted their graduate medical education cost estimates, which were then frozen in 1991, "leaving states like Texas and California far behind New York." Bentsen's legislation, co-sponsored by Rep. Ben Cardin (D-MD), "would create a $4.1 billion fund and new formulas, tied to wage and cost-of-living indexes, to fairly determine" reimbursement rates and "would help finance $300 million for the training of paramedics and nurses" (8/19).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.