CEO Advocacy Earns National Recognition
Bassett Healthcare Network President and CEO Dr. William F. Streck was selected as New York’s recipient of the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) Grassroots Champion Award for his continued efforts to protect rural access to primary and specialty health care services. Streck received the award at the AHA’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. May 8.
Dr. Streck has worked with the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) to further the New York State Congressional Delegation’s understanding of the importance of community-based outpatient services to the health of people living in rural regions who might otherwise not access the medical care they need.
Earlier this year, at the urging of U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, Congress decided not to follow through on a plan that would have resulted in deep Medicare cuts to hospital outpatient clinics, which are often the only source of physician care for many individuals living in both rural and urban areas. That bill would have devastated Bassett and many other integrated health systems across the country, threatening important outpatient services provided by nearly 100 hospitals statewide.
While in D.C. to accept the AHA award, Streck and Vice President of Development Michael Stein also participated in a meeting of a national coalition of integrated systems that is considering how to meet the challenges presented by health reform and prevent a revisit of the proposed cuts to Medicare hospital outpatient payments.
“Medicare reimbursements have historically not kept pace with the cost of providing care,” observes Dr. Streck. “Deep cuts to hospital outpatient payments would jeopardize patient care for some of the neediest of individuals, not just in our rural region, but across the country where some 3,000 hospitals would see cuts. The bill Congress considered earlier this year would cost Bassett millions of dollars over a 10 year period; that doesn’t happen without severe consequences. Our ability to make these points to our representatives prevented these cuts so far, but we will need to keep fighting to protect patient care.”