Weekly Review: Paying Maine Hospitals the Millions They Are Owed

For Immediate Release

August 22, 2018

Contact: Brendan Conley

(202) 225-6306

 

Weekly Review: Paying Maine Hospitals the Millions They Are Owed

BANGOR, Maine – This past week, Maine’s 2nd District Congressman, Bruce Poliquin, hosted a roundtable with the Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, several Maine hospitals, VA personnel and others focusing on getting our hospitals paid back the millions of dollars they are owed.  Here’s a recap:

Along With the Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, Poliquin Hosts Roundtable Focusing on Getting Hospitals Paid Millions They Are Owed

On Friday, Congressman Poliquin hosted the Chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Dr. Phil Roe, several Maine hospital officials from across the State, Maine VA officials, federal VA officials and federal VA contractors for a roundtable at Eastern Maine Medical Center focusing on getting Maine’s hospitals paid the millions of dollars they are owed by the federal government.

“Our hospitals across our state, especially in our most rural areas, provide essential services for our families and communities,” said Congressman Poliquin. “There is no excuse for our hospitals to bear the burden of millions of dollars of backlog that the federal government owes them for critical services to our Veterans, which is why I’ve worked so hard to get that money paid back. On the Veterans Affairs Committee, I also pushed for a provision to be included in the landmark Veterans bill that was made law earlier this year—the VA MISSION Act—that will make reforms to the payment processes and help prevent these backlogs from occurring again.”

“Making sure our hospitals are paid the millions they’re owed will not only allow us to maintain health care services for our Veterans closer to home, but it will also pour in needed funding to our hospitals and keep them open and serving our communities.”

Poliquin helped author major legislation, the VA MISSION Act, which was signed into law this year that will reform payment processes so Maine hospitals are paid promptly and Veterans can get health care closer to home.

Background:

Hospitals across Maine are owed millions of dollars from the federal government for frontloading the costs to treat Veterans who use the VA Choice Program, a program which enables Maine Veterans to access care closer to home. The major issue is that the federal government has been delinquent in their reimbursements, putting pressure on Maine’s hospitals, especially those in rural areas.

Congressman Poliquin has been working to (1) get the hospitals the money they are owed, and (2) pass reforms to the reimbursement processes so the problem does not happen in the future. Much of this work has been done through his integral involvement on the Veterans Affairs’ Committee.

This year, the VA MISSION Act was signed into law, which included a portion that specifically addresses the hospital payment processes, making reforms so that hospitals are paid promptly and any outstanding payments incur interest.

The Rural Hospitals Caucus:

Earlier this year, Congressman Poliquin founded the bipartisan Congressional Rural Hospitals Caucus, which focuses on ways Congress can help support rural hospitals across the nation and which is growing in membership.

Poliquin Presents World War II Veteran’s Daughter With His Medals  

At a breakfast Friday at Dysart’s in Bangor, Congressman Poliquin and Chairman Phil Roe sat down with several Maine Veterans to discuss issues impacting them. During the breakfast, Congressman Poliquin made a special announcement: presenting retired Navy Senior Chief Joy Asuncion with the medals earned and never received by her late father, Private First Class John Robert Lewis, a World War II Army Veteran.

“Congratulations to Joy and the entire family—you have a proud history of serving our Country,” said Congressman Poliquin. “I salute you.”

Lewis was drafted and served from Winter 1943 to Spring 1946 with the 464th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion in China, Burma, and India. Lewis’ personnel records were destroyed in a 1973 fire, but Poliquin’s office was still able to obtain these medals.

Poliquin Meets With Aroostook County Community Leaders in Caribou

Last week, Congressman Poliquin sat down with Caribou community leaders, local lawmakers, local small businesses and several others for a great discussion hosted by the Aroostook Partnership. They spoke about the critical topics impacting the economy in The County—agriculture, forestry, rail access, and energy, among others—and ways to work together to continue to grow jobs and The County’s economy.

Poliquin, Senator King, Tour Upstart Center for Entrepreneurship in Orono 

Congressman Poliquin toured the Upstart Center for Entrepreneurship with Senator King the week before last.

“It was great to be in Orono to tour the Upstart Center for Entrepreneurship with Senator King and to talk with some of these brilliant young adults who are working hard on the next new tech breakthroughs,” said Congressman Poliquin. “We need to do everything we can to create and protect jobs here in Maine so our next generation can stay in the state and have the opportunities to be successful.”

Poliquin Helps Break Ground on New Fisher House Building For Vets At Togus

At Togus, Congressman Poliquin participated in the groundbreaking ceremony for a new Fisher House building on the campus, a building that will serve as a “home away from home” for the families of Veterans who are receiving treatment at the facility.

“For our Veterans who have to travel long distances to get to Augusta, it is so important we make sure to do everything we can to make that trip and their stay easier for them and their families,” said Congressman Poliquin. “I’m hopeful this new facility will help.”

“Getting our Vets care closer to home is so critical, and it’s one of the reasons why I pushed so hard to get onto the Veterans Affairs Committee, where I’ve helped put meaningful reforms into law to improve community care programs like the VA Choice Program. It’s critical our Veterans, who served and sacrificed to defend our Nation, have access to the care they deserve.”

Honoring 29 Years of Service to the Auburn Police Department

Congressman Poliquin joined the officers of the Auburn Police Department earlier this month for their National Night Out, which included a very special surprise for retiring Officer Tom Poulin.

“To honor Officer Poulin and his 29 years of service, I had the distinct pleasure of presenting him with a United States Flag flown over the U.S. Capitol Building,” said Congressman Poliquin. “Thank you to all of the officers of the Auburn Police Department, and to all of our men and women in blue across our Great State of Maine, for protecting our families and communities every single day. We honor you.”

Touring the GE in Bangor

“Had an informative tour of the Bangor GE facility, thank you for the warm reception,” said Congressman Poliquin. “These hundreds of jobs are important to keep Maine’s economy growing strong — keep up the great work!”

FDA Approves Affordable Generic Epipen, After Pressure from Poliquin

Following Congressman Poliquin’s urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow for alternative and more affordable versions of EpiPen (epinephrine injection) devices, the agency approved a generic device at a more affordable price, something that is expected to help alleviate costs for Maine’s rural emergency personnel.

EpiPen soared in price in 2016, by more than 500% over the previous decade, placing financial strains on families and a budgetary burden on Maine’s rural fire departments. Congressman Poliquin heard directly from Maine rural fire chiefs about the impact of the jump in costs, specifically the challenges they face in balancing the pay for their services with the costs of maintaining adequate stocks of the EpiPen.

“It’s critical we do everything we can to lower the costs for our rural emergency personnel and make these life-saving devices more affordable for them and for families across Maine,” said Congressman Poliquin. “The approval of more affordable devices is welcome news and I applaud the FDA in making this decision that will hopefully help lower costs for Maine families and emergency personnel.”

 

ICYMI: Poliquin Works to Help Maine Lobster In U.S.,  E.U. Trade Discussions

In light of talks between the U.S. and the European Union concerning removing barriers to fairer trade, Congressman Poliquin is urging the Administration to stand up for Maine’s lobster industry. Congressman Poliquin sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) head Ambassador Robert E. Lighthizer urging for Maine lobster to be included in any final trade agreement between the U.S. and the E.U.

In his letter, Congressman Poliquin writes:

“Maine is made up of some of the hardest working people in America—from our wood products and logging industry, to our tourism sector, and from our potato and blueberry farmers, to our shoe makers and our paper mill workers. Mainers work hard for what we’ve got and we are incredibly proud of that, but when it comes to trade, the playing field must be fair.

“Right now, the Canadians are operating at a huge advantage over our Maine lobster industry when it comes to access to the European market. To rectify this and ensure longevity for our Maine lobstermen, processors, distributors, and numerous other indirect workers, I urge you to include lobster into any trade agreement you reach with the European Union.”

Congressman Poliquin works with the entire Maine Delegation to help Maine’s lobster industry.

In June, Congressman Poliquin and the rest of Maine’s Delegation—Senators Susan Collins and Angus King and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree—hosted a meeting in Maine between top USTR officials and members of the Maine Lobster Dealers’ Association (MLDA) to discuss the impact of federal trade policies on the state’s lobster industry.

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Post expires at 2:53pm on Saturday September 22nd, 2018

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