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Palazzo Receives Award for Leadership from America's Essential Hospitals

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Washington, February 28, 2018 | Colleen Kennedy | comments

Washington, DC - Congressman Steven Palazzo (MS-4) was awarded the Essential Hospital Congressional Leader Award on Tuesday by America's Essential Hospitals Association (AEH) for his efforts to delay harmful Medicaid cuts for hospitals nationwide.

Kevin Cook, the Chief Executive Officer for the University of Mississippi Medical Center's adult hospitals, presented Palazzo with the award for his leadership. In 2017, Palazzo led 221 members of the House to urge House and Senate leadership to delay scheduled payment cuts for Disproportionate Share Hospitals (DSH).

Federal law requires that state Medicaid programs make payments to qualifying hospitals that deliver health care to a large number of Medicaid and uninsured patients. These payments alleviate the financial strain hospitals incur from uncompensated costs. 

"Delaying these harmful cuts and providing relief to our hospitals is important," Palazzo said. "When speaking with our local safety net hospitals, it was evident just how catastrophic these payment cuts would be to their mission in caring for our communities. I am thankful that we were able to temporarily restore these vital payments for Mississippi hospitals and prove that we are committed to getting our health care systems on a path to sustainability. Thank you to the association for America's Essential Hospitals and its members for their continued work to improve our health care system."

Kevin Cook, Chief Executive Officer for the University of Mississippi Medical Center, said, “I am honored to present Rep. Palazzo with this leadership award. His staunch support for safety net hospitals and his critical opposition to cuts to disproportionate share funding means that hospitals like UMMC can continue to fulfill our mission to serve the poor and underserved of Mississippi.”

Gary G. Marchand, Chief Executive Officer, Memorial Hospital at Gulfport, said, "We appreciate Congressman Palazzo's willingness to address the challenges being faced by safety net hospitals.  We thank him for understanding the importance of a community hospital's role in meeting the healthcare needs of the communities they serve and leading an effective response.  Community hospitals nationwide will benefit from his efforts to restore much needed funding for healthcare services provided to our most vulnerable citizens."

Lee Bond, Chief Operating Officer for Singing River Health System, said, “As a not for profit, community owned health system, Singing River serves as a critical healthcare safety net for our community.  The DSH Program is essential for fulfilling that responsibility and we are grateful to Congressman Palazzo for his support of the health system through his leadership related to DSH funding. We hope the State of Mississippi will follow the federal lead so that we can maintain access for those who need it most.”

On February 8, President Trump signed a budget agreement that included a two-year retroactive delay of the scheduled Medicaid reimbursement cuts that were originally scheduled to take effect on Oct. 1 in 2017.
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