HCMC joins petition drive for BBA cure

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JULIE ANDERSON
Hillsboro Community Medical Center is circulating a petition to call

on Congress and the Clinton Administration to help America?s

hospitals, the caregivers that work in them, the volunteers who
give

of themselves and their time, and the patients they serve.



?I think (the public) should be very concerned because the
Balanced

Budget Act has been very devastating to hospitals all over the
United

States,? said Tom Faulkner, HCMC chief executive officer.



Faulkner encourages everyone who cares about rural health care to
sign

the petition.



?If Congress recognizes the effort and recognizes the financial

concerns of hospitals, any relief from the Balanced Budget Act
will

help HCMC,? he said.



The petitions are being circulated by every hospital in the United

States in hopes of receiving relief from BBA.



The legislation imposed enormous reductions in projected Medicare
and

Medicaid spending from 1998 to 2002. An estimated $76 billion,
nearly

$25 billion more than Congress intended, was cut from hospitals?

Medicare payments, with an additional $10 billion cut from
Medicaid.



Although experts estimate Medicare is sound until at least 2025,
many

of America?s hospitals and private insurers are squeezing
hospitals,

causing their patients to suffer.



Last year, Congress took a step toward repairing the unintended

consequences of the BBA, but more is needed.



Since 1997, the cost of caring for America?s seniors has risen

dramatically, according to HCMC. Costs of new drugs and lifesaving

technologies are soaring.



The number of uninsured who are treated at America?s hospitals

continues to increase, yet government payments to hospitals for
the

care of Medicare and Medicaid patients continue to lag behind the
cost

of caring, the hospital reported.



In Washington, leading Republicans and Democrats have teamed up to

provide some relief for America?s hospitals and the patients and

communities they serve.



Petitions are located at HCMC, the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce,

Commercial Federal Bank, Emprise Bank, Hillsboro State Bank,
Central

National Bank, Great Plains Federal Credit Union, Hillsboro Family

Practice Clinic

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