Deborah Hospital to receive additional Medicare funding thanks to MacArthur legislation
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Deborah Heart and Lung Center in Burlington County announced it was accepted in to the Medicare Dependent Hospital (MDH) Program, thanks to Congressman MacArthur’s bipartisan legislation, the Fairness for Our Hospitals Act that was included in the Bipartisan Budget Act. This program will provide Deborah Heart and Lung Center in Burlington County with millions of dollars each year and will allow the hospital to continue its mission of providing patients with access to high-quality care, including the many senior citizens and veterans that Deborah serves.
Congressman MacArthur worked tirelessly on this issue since coming to Congress, and advocated directly with the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Congressman Kevin Brady, about the importance of this program for his constituents in South Jersey.
“This is great news for Deborah Hospital and the entire South Jersey community,” said Congressman Tom MacArthur. “The Medicare Dependent Hospital Program will ensure Deborah can continue to provide its life-saving health care to our community. South Jersey’s senior citizens and veterans deserve the best care possible and I’ll continue to work across the aisle and fight for them in Congress.”
"We are thrilled to receive official notice from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that our request for Medicare Dependent Hospital status has been approved, and starting April 27 and going forward, Deborah will receive the increased Medicare payments we qualify for as a small rural hospital with a high percentage of Medicare patients,” said Joseph Chirichella, President and CEO of Deborah Heart and Lung Center. “This would not have been possible without bipartisan, persistent and consistent leadership throughout the entire process. Congressman MacArthur and his staff have been invaluable in securing millions of dollars a year in Medicare reimbursement that we were previously denied. We often read stories about how government does not work for the people. Our experience is that with the help of committed federal legislators like Congressman MacArthur, government can work to do the right thing."
Congressman MacArthur introduced the Fairness for Our Hospitals Act in 2017. It is cosponsored by Reps. Pascrell, Jr. and Lisa Blunt-Rochester (D-Del.) in the House of Representatives.
The legislation closes an unfair loophole in federal law that prevents rural hospitals in states like New Jersey from participating in the Medicare Dependent Hospital Program (MDH), which helps support small rural hospitals that serve Medicare patients.
New Jersey is designated as one of only three “all-urban” states, along with Delaware and Rhode Island. As a result, local hospitals that would otherwise qualify, like Deborah, are denied additional Medicare reimbursements; this inequality is unfair and against the intent and goals of the Medicare program.
To qualify for rural MDH payments, the hospital must be in a rural area; have 100 or fewer beds during the cost reporting period; cannot already be classified as Sole Community Hospital (another rural-only hospital designation); and at least 60% of its patients must use Medicare.
Deborah is a not-for-profit specialty hospital dedicated to cardiac and pulmonary care located in the heart of New Jersey’s Pine Barrens. It accepts Medicare and other insurance, but has traditionally provided its patients with high-quality care at zero out-of-pocket expense.
This is not the first time that MacArthur has helped South Jersey hospitals better serve his constituents. In 2017, he led a successful bipartisan effort urging the extension of a key Medicare policy—the imputed rural floor—to provide New Jersey hospitals with fair and equitable payments to support physicians and other health care professionals providing care to NJ residents. Congressman MacArthur advocated directly for this extension with HHS Secretary Tom Price, which provided $36.4 million in federal funding for 17 New Jersey hospitals.