Congressmembers Jimmy Gomez and Robin Kelly Introduce Legislation to Help Hospitals that Serve Vulnerable Communities

Washington, April 24, 2020
Los Angeles – Today, Congressman Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), a member of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, and Congresswoman Robin Kelly (IL-02), a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee Health Subcommittee, introduced H.R. 6584, legislation to increase funding for Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospitals (DSH) – hospitals that serve a significantly disproportionate number of low-income patients – for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Safety-net hospitals receive Medicaid DSH in order to offset the cost of uncompensated care and to ensure they can effectively serve their communities. The legislation is identical to Section 70112 of the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act, which House Democrats originally proposed before passages of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

"Hospitals are at the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic," said Congressman Gomez. "That is especially true for those hospitals serving vulnerable communities in Los Angeles and across the country. Our shared commitment to effectively treat communities of color, those with disabilities, and low-income Americans through this pandemic will help define our nation’s character once this crisis is behind us. This legislation reflects that commitment by providing safety-net hospitals with the targeted funding needed to support their patients during a time when hospitals are scrambling for resources. I’d like to thank Congressman Kelly for working with me on this bill and helping our nation live up to the values that make us a beacon of hope for those who cannot help themselves.”

“The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services thanks Congressman Gomez for his leadership supporting Medicaid DSH. Our department uses DSH funding to support and expand our network of community health clinics across the County and provide culturally competent care for people that have been underserved historically,” said Christina R. Ghaly, M.D., Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. The stability of the DSH program is all the more important as we confront this unprecedented public health emergency. On behalf of the vulnerable people we serve, we thank Congressman Gomez for fighting to defend and expand this important federal funding for our local public health care system."

“The Medicaid DSH program provides vital funding to those hospitals which care for the most vulnerable in our state,” said Carmela Coyle, President and CEO of the California Hospital Association. “Now, more than ever, these additional funds are critical to keeping California’s hospitals open and available to patients. We are grateful to Representative Gomez for his ongoing commitment to ensuring access to care for all Californians.”

“California’s community safety-net hospitals dedicate 86 percent of the care they provide to low-income Medi-Cal, Medicare, and uninsured patients.  During normal times, these hospitals rely on Medicaid DSH funding to enable them to serve their diverse, underserved communities with high-quality care and preventive services,” said Anne McLeod, President and CEO of Private Essential Access Community Hospitals (PEACH), the statewide association representing California’s core community safety net hospitals. “During these extraordinary times when these communities are especially vulnerable, California’s DSH hospitals require additional support to maintain their missions.  PEACH supports HR 6584 and is grateful to Congressman Gomez and Congresswoman Kelly for introducing this important legislation.”

California's 34th Congressional District has four DSH hospitals that would benefit from the bill:

- White Memorial Medical Center

- California Hospital Medical Center - Los Angeles

- Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center

- Silver Lake Medical Center - Downtown Campus

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