TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator M. Teresa Ruiz that would expand the per adjusted admission charge on hospitals to create a supplemental funding pool for the state’s graduate medical education subsidy passed the Senate today.
“Safety net hospitals offer valuable learning opportunities to future physicians. They get an opportunity to see the challenges present in low income areas and the health disparities they lead to,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “This bill will encourage doctors to remain at these hospitals by forging a personal connection to the community, so the facilities no longer have to incentivize working there and draw down on resources that can be better spent on patients.”
The bill, S-2759, would provide that the per adjusted admission charge of $10 assessed to each hospital under current law would be expanded to apply to all general acute hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals, and long-term acute care hospitals.
Any general fund savings resulting from the fee would be used to create a supplemental funding pool, known as Safety Net Graduate Medical Education, for the state’s graduate medical education subsidy.
The bill would appropriate $24,285,714 to the Safety Net Graduate Medical Education pool. It would also establish the criteria and logistics for receiving the funds.
Current law, which only assess a per adjusted admission charge to hospitals, does not meet federal guidelines which require that the charge be applied in a “broad-based” manner. As a result, the state is ineligible to have the funds collected matched by the federal government, and is fined 50 percent of what is collected. By extending the assessment to include more facilities it would meet the “broad based” provision, allowing the state to retain all of the funds collected, and be eligible for a federal match.
The bill cleared the Senate today by a vote of 22-15.