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By Hartsville Vidette Staff Reporter

Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Ferrell Haile (R-Gallatin) has called for adoption of a proposed rule pending before the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Submitted photo
State Sen. Ferrell Haile

The rule would help Tennessee’s hospitals, particularly those in rural and underserved areas, receive a fairer reimbursement rate for health care services by reforming the Area Wage Index (AWI) formula.

Haile, who is Vice Chairman of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, submitted a letter expressing his strong support for reform as an official response to a public comment period on the proposal, which is set to end on June 24. He also co-sponsored Senate Joint Resolution 98, which was passed by the General Assembly earlier this year urging federal authorities to revise the AWI formula.

“Tennessee hospitals have been struggling with grossly unfair Medicare reimbursement rates, which is a key reason for financial instability and closures,” said Sen. Haile in a press statement. “Fixing the flawed formula is critical to our healthcare system in Tennessee. I was glad to have the opportunity to weigh in on the many benefits reform will provide for patients and communities across Tennessee.”

Haile also praised the efforts of Tennessee’s federal delegation in working to bring the needed change to the attention of the Trump administration.

“I appreciate the hard work done by Senator (Lamar) Alexander, Senator (Marsha) Blackburn, and Congressman (John) Rose in helping to bring the proposed change before CMS and am hopeful we will be hearing good news about its adoption soon.”

Upon adoption, the new rule could take effect as soon as this fall.