AMC president talks Cuomo, health care legislation

Specifically, Ralph says the health care bill is right to push for more evidence-based medicine. She also says measures to increase the practice of bundling are a good thing - in other words, encouraging all-inclusive hospital trips where, for example, a patient gets a hip replacement and remains there for inpatient rehabilitation.

And while Congressman Owens is calling for outcome-based reimbursement, Ralph says that aspect of the health care bill is onerous for hospitals.

"One of the tough parts of the bill is the readmission penalties," she said. "If people are readmitted to the hospital, regardless if it had anything to do with their original visit, they're not going to pay you. So if you come in for a hip replacement and then go out and get hit by a car and you have to come back to the hospital - we don't get paid for that."

If someone is readmitted because of doctor error - Ralph says the hospital should take the hit financially. But she says hospitals shouldn't be penalized for readmission not related to the original admission.

Ralph says the intent behind the health care bill was good - but some of the regulations can't be put into practice without raising costs for providers.

In any event, Ralph doesn't see the legislation being repealed, as that would require support from the Senate and the president's signature - both of which are highly unlikely.

What Ralph does foresee is a serious discussion among state and federal officials about how to increase the quality of health care at a more economical cost.

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