Proposed Rule Would Adjust Reimbursements for Certain Hospitals
On Friday, CMS issued a proposed rule that would increase reimbursements to acute care hospitals that successfully participate in the Inpatient Quality Reporting System by 0.8%, totaling $27 million in fiscal year 2014, MedPage Today reports (Pittman, MedPage Today, 4/26).
About the Proposed Rule
The proposal increases to $1.1 billion the pool of funding available for facilities that perform well on quality scores by initially reducing Medicare inpatient hospital payments to all facilities by 1.25%. Hospitals that perform well on quality scores ultimately would receive that funding back and more, ending up with a net increase of 0.8% (Norman/Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 4/26). Hospitals that do not participate in the program would face 2% cuts (MedPage Today, 4/26).
The cuts would enable a one-year freeze of Medicare physician reimbursements.
The rule also would increase payments for long-term care hospitals by 1.1%, or about $62 million in FY 2014, and would add chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and knee and hip implants to the conditions included in the hospital-acquired infections penalty program.
The proposal would apply to about 3,400 general acute-care hospitals and 440 long-term care facilities (Zigmond/Daly, Modern Healthcare, 4/26).
In addition, the rule would reduce disproportionate share hospital payments to 25% of the amount Medicare pays under the current policy (CMS release, 4/26).
Acting CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner in a statement said, "The new policies in this proposed rule support hospitals' important work and the people with Medicare who depend on them by promoting safety and care improvement" (CQ HealthBeat, 4/26).
The proposal will be published in the Federal Register on May 10, and CMS will accept comments until June 25. The final rule will be published on Aug. 1 and will become effective for discharges on or after Oct. 1 (MedPage Today, 4/26).
The National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems immediately criticized the proposal to cut DSH payments, Modern Healthcare reports.
Beth Feldpush, senior vice president for policy and advocacy at the organization, in a statement said the methodology does not take the cost of care for uninsured individuals into account. "CMS has ... continued to rely on the same unsound proxy that ignores uninsured individuals and instead focuses on Medicaid and low-income Medicare patients," Feldpush said (Modern Healthcare, 4/26).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.