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Federal GME rotator cap bill introduced

A bill that would amend Medicare rules so that community hospitals are not penalized for hosting medical resident “rotators” for short durations was introduced this week by U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Neenah, pictured on the right). Original cosponsors of H.R. 4732, the Advancing Medical Resident Training in Community Hospitals Act of 2016, include nearly the entire Wisconsin delegation.

Under the bill, Medicare graduate medical education (GME) rules would be revised to ensure a facility’s GME per resident amount (PRA) and a facility’s GME “cap building period” are not started until a facility has become an official teaching hospital.

The Senate version of HR 4372 was introduced by Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida, with the support of original cosponsors Sens. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

The GME rotator cap issue is one that the Wisconsin Medical Society (Society) has worked closely on with the Holy Sisters Health System (HSHS) for many months and brought up during several of the Society’s congressional visits in Washington D.C. The issue impacts at least two Wisconsin hospitals, St. Vincent Hospital and Bellin Memorial Hospital, both in Green Bay. They inadvertently triggered a GME cap by hosting medical resident “rotators” for brief periods of time nearly 20 years ago. For one hospital, a PRA also was triggered. Under Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) current interpretation of Medicare rules, if a nonteaching (community) hospital accepts medical resident “rotators,” it risks receiving substantially lower funding from the Medicare program, if it ever later decides to become a teaching hospital because a cap will be applied.

With the expansion of the Medical College of Wisconsin’s satellite campus, it’s critical that a legislative solution is passed to help ensure that the newly graduated medical students from the new satellite campus have an opportunity to do a residency in the same region.

“Northeast Wisconsin needs more doctors, and research shows that well over half of all graduates stay and practice in the community where they completed their medical school and residency,” Ribble said in this news release. “My bill is simply a technical fix to an outdated CMS rule that keeps hospitals that didn’t have a medical residency program 20 years ago from meeting new training needs.”

For more information e-mail Chris Rasch, director of state and federal relations, in the Government and Legal Affairs Department.

Back to March 17, 2016 Medigram