Tester and 21 of his colleagues sent a letter to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services regarding concerns about the proposed rule change
Senator Tester led 21 of his Senate colleagues to urge the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to reconsider the agency’s proposed rule to update Medicare payment policies and rates for care facilities qualified nurses. Tester and his colleagues pointed out that this action would result in an overall decrease of $320 million in payments to long-term care facilities and expressed concern that the proposed reduction in payments could worsen current challenges and lead to the closure. rural settlements.
“Rural long-term care facilities are facing a historic workforce crisis, losing more than 400,000 caregivers since the start of the pandemic… In the worst-case scenario, rural facilities are forced to permanently close their doors. When a small community loses a health care provider, there is no guarantee that they will ever return,” Tester and his colleagues wrote. “With these challenges in mind, we believe now is not the time to cut CMS payments to facilities vital to health care and quality of life in rural America.”
The senators concluded: “We stand ready to partner with CMS to ensure that the most vulnerable in our county are not put at additional risk as our country continues to deal with the consequences of the pandemic.”
Tester has worked tirelessly to ensure Montanans and health care providers in Montana have the resources they need to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
In March 2020Tester voted to provide critical and urgent relief to workers, families, small businesses and hospitals in Montana through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This funding included $200 million for CMS to help nursing homes control infections.
This Aprilit secured $111.5 million for Montana Hospitals and $9.1 million for Montana Community Health Centers to respond to the pandemic, and secured an additional $3 million for workforce expansion. public health from the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council in Indian Country.
last decemberTester secured $25,647,522 in Health and Human Services (HHS) funding for 286 Montana health care providers through the US Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). This HHS funding was disbursed through relief fund payments to healthcare providers who had suffered lost income and expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic and could be used to recruit and retain staff. , purchase personal protective equipment and upgrade health care facilities.
You can read the full letter from the senators HERE.