Faso questions lower Medicare pay in Kingston

Rep. John Faso has asked Medicare regulators to change a reimbursement policy that pays Kingston hospital workers much less than those in a wide New York City metropolitan area, causing some nurses in Kingston to earn almost $12 an hour below their counterparts across the Hudson in Dutchess County.

In a letter last month to the head of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Faso objected to the roughly 40 percent pay difference at hospitals eight miles apart, arguing that it makes it hard for the HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley to hire and keep workers at its two Kingston hospitals. He urged Administrator Seema Verna to address that “wage index disparity” to avoid punishing certain employers in a shared labor pool. The nursing pay comparison he cited was $28.50 per hour vs. $40.12 per hour.

“Current CMS reimbursements undermine finances of the Kingston Hospital and make it more difficult for the hospital to attract and retain professional staff, particularly nurses,” the Kinderhook Republican said in a press release on Friday. “My hope is that CMS can ensure that hospitals in this type situation can receive reimbursements equal to or closer to payments made to neighboring hospitals within the same labor market.”

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