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Engel Bill to Modernize Hospitals Clears Key Hurdle

Engel Bill to Modernize Hospitals Clears Key Hurdle

Congressman Eliot L. Engel commended the House Appropriations Committee yesterday for passing a key funding bill for federal health agencies, which included provisions authored by Congressman Engel that direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to assess the level of investment needed to modernize U.S. hospitals.

“My constituents depend on safety-net hospitals to serve communities in the Bronx and Westchester, which have been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Engel. “This public health crisis has shown that our nation’s hospital infrastructure desperately needs sustained federal support to help ensure that every American has access to high-quality health care. I want to thank Chairwoman Lowey and Chairwoman DeLauro for including my provisions in the bill and I look forward to its passage on the House floor.”

Congressman Engel’s provisions in the Fiscal Year 2021 Labor—Health and Human Services appropriations bill are based off the 21st Century Hospital Act, H.R. 3558, which he introduced on June 27, 2020. The Engel authored provisions, more specifically, call on HHS to submit a report to Congress within one year of the bill’s passage on the:

  • Challenges that safety-net hospitals face in accessing funding for medical infrastructure, including the impact those challenges can have in responding to public health emergencies
  • The utilization of electronic medical records
  • The barriers that U.S. hospitals face in accessing new health information technologies

Congressman Engel is a longtime advocate of safety-net hospitals. He has fought successfully to prevent cuts to the Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payment program, which provides New York’s nearly 200 safety-net hospitals with about $1.8 billion in annual funding.