More than 50 House members, led by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), have signed a letter urging the Office of Management and Budget to release $101.3 million in contingency funds for Medicare in order to avoid delays in reimbursements to elderly beneficiaries, hospitals and doctors.
Medicare had notified Blue Cross/Blue Shield and others who administer the payments that unless extra administrative funds for fiscal 1991 are made available, the payments will have to be slowed.
Blue Cross estimated that by late in fiscal 1991, the normal time for a beneficiary to obtain reimbursement would jump from about 17 to 66 days, and the normal time for hospitals and nursing homes from about 17 to 36 days.
"We believe that requiring people who are elderly and ill to wait for more than two months to receive their rightful reimbursement is unfair," said Frank and 51 other House members in a letter to OMB Director Richard G. Darman. "In addition, delays of more than a month will clearly impose financial burdens on hospitals and nursing homes . . . . For these reasons, we urge you to order the release of the money as soon as possible."
Sources said that OMB "is sympathetic" to the request for release of the contingency funds and has been carrying on discussions with Medicare officials to determine the exact amount.