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Federal Spending Bill Includes Key Hospital Priorities

March 04, 2024

Congress has until Friday to reach a deal to fund the federal government, and lawmakers are expected to take up a few key hospital priorities as part of the process.

This week, lawmakers will review a six-bill “minibus” that would extend funding through the year. Congress faces two deadlines to fully fund the government on Friday and March 22.

The minibus includes a package of health care provisions. Among the key priorities for the hospital community in the proposed health package:

  • Delaying DSH Cuts:  The bill would prevent cuts to the Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) program from going into effect through the end of the year.
  • Low-volume/Medicare-dependent:  The bill extends both the increased low-volume hospital payment adjustment and the Medicare dependent hospital program through 2024.
  • Physician payments:  The bill would provide an increase in Medicare payments to physicians to partially offset payment cuts announced last fall.
  • Substance use disorder:  The bill requires for state Medicaid plans to cover Medication-assisted treatment.
  • Public health:  The bill extends funding for community health centers, the National Health Service Corps, and teaching health centers that operate graduate medical education programs through 2024.

Notably, the bill does not include site-neutral payment policies for drugs administered in hospital outpatient departments; reforms for pharmacy benefit managers; or other price transparency initiatives.

Lawmakers have until the end of the week to pass a bill to send to President Joe Biden to sign into law.

HAP will continue to monitor the latest updates in Washington and provide updates to members. For questions, contact  John Myers, vice president, federal advocacy.