McSally in Green Valley

Sen. Martha McSally talks to a doctor and staff in the emergency room at Santa Cruz Valley Regional Hospital on Friday.

Santa Cruz Valley Regional Hospital welcomed Sen. Martha McSally on Friday, and had about a million reasons to tell her thanks.

Earlier this year, McSally’s staff put a stop to automatic sweeps by the IRS that had cost the Green Valley hospital nearly $1 million. The sweeps stemmed from previous ownership and should have been halted when the hospital emerged from bankruptcy under a new owner in 2018.

McSally told a group of about 50 employees after a tour that her staff had been told that correcting the error could take “months and months,” but they had it cleared up in 42 days after being contacted Feb. 27. The swept money was repaid with interest, she said.

Things get done “when you’re a squeaky wheel and persistent,” McSally said.

McSally also told the group that Congress is addressing “surprise billing,” where patients are unaware up front that some physicians treating them might be out-of-network and not covered under their insurance plans.

“That’s not fair,” McSally said of the unexpected billing.

But while there is bipartisan agreement that the issue needs fixing, disagreements arose this month over who would pay out-of-network doctors and how much, threatening passage before Congress’ summer break.

A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation released last month said that about one in every six times somebody goes to an emergency room or checks into a hospital, they get a “surprise” medical bill.

California lawmakers backed off on dealing with the issue last week after pushback from hospitals. The legislation would have limited how much hospitals can charge for emergency care. Hospitals charged that was akin to rate-setting.

The bill was pulled and California lawmakers vowed to bring it up next year.

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