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MCEP is currently a key player in providing quality care and timely access to hospital care for Dayton residents. As of January 18, those residents will have to find alternative care at other local facilities.
"As the current Mayor and 30-year resident in this great city, I was distressed to learn that the Medical Center at Elizabeth Place has been notified by CMS that MCEP's participation status as a hospital in the Medicare program will be terminated," says Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley. "MCEP has been, and still is, an asset to Dayton and an important part of our healthcare continuum. The City has supported MCEP from its inception in 2006 with a development grant, and more recently, with an additional development grant of $250,000 to assist with relocation of inpatient beds within the Elizabeth Place building in order to increase the efficiency of inpatient hospital services."
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MCEP's termination by CMS is based on its interpretation of what constitutes a "hospital." This interpretation just became part of CMS's litany of manuals and publications at the end of 2017. MCEP doesn't meet that definition, claims CMS, based on its position that a hospital must have a minimum number of patients in the facility each day, who also remain there for a sufficient period of time.
"We take CMS's comments and directives very seriously," said Dr. John Fleishman, who currently serves as the chair of MCEP's board of directors. "However, the notice of termination was surprising and completely unexpected. This interpretation appears to contradict what CMS otherwise asks facilities to do with regard to improving outcomes and lowering the cost of care."
By its own words found in the same manual, CMS is supposed to consider other factors, when determining whether a facility meets the definition of a hospital, in addition to the number of patients and their time in the facility. In this case, those other factors are surely more important than any raw statistics. Patients' access to hospital care will be lost – plain and simple – and that should be the controlling factor with regard to MCEP's participation as a hospital in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
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In addition to thwarting access for needy residents, CMS's action could also put nearly 100 of MCEP's highly trained health care workers out of a job. All of this because CMS insists that a "numbers game" must be the touchstone for the availability of needed hospital care for Dayton's inner-city population.
CMS needs to reconsider its position and, at the very least, grant MCEP additional time to continue to serve the inner-city residents of Dayton while MCEP works toward satisfying the requirements at issue.
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