Millions coming to north country hospitals, Schumer announces
WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - North country hospitals will get millions of dollars more because of a change in Medicare payments.
The change was championed by U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, who announced the funding Wednesday.
“They’re not reimbursing our hospitals enough for their costs in quality health care. Finally, the long-awaited day has come. The Medicare system has shifted in Upstate New York’s favor,” Schumer said.
The payment increase comes from an alteration to the Medicare “wage index,” a formula that helps determine how much money the government pays hospitals. Now an additional $967 million will be going toward upstate New York medical facilities.
“It’s one of the biggest shots in the arm for federal funding that we have ever seen in upstate New York and it starts in October,” Schumer said.
Hospitals can use the money to hire more staff or fill budget gaps.
“The change to this formula means more care, more and better doctors, better access for health care,” Schumer said.
One north country hospital benefiting from the change is Samaritan Medical Center. It will be receiving an additional $7.5 million per year.
“In healthcare, there’s been a lot of volatility in what we’ve been facing with staffing shortages, financial crises and burdens. I think this just helps the bigger picture,” said Leslie DiStefano, Director of Communications - Samaritan Medical Center.
Other local hospitals getting money include Massena Hospital, $1.5 million; Claxton-Hepburn, $7.1 million; Canton-Potsdam Hospital, $5.5 million.
In a statement, St. Lawrence Health and its parent Rochester Regional Health said, “This funding will aid our ongoing efforts to further recover from the pandemic. It will also allow us to reduce this year’s $150 million in anticipated operating losses by filling the gap created by years of Medicaid and Medicare underpayment.”
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