Senate Panel Members Question Medicare Payment Reduction
A bipartisan group of 11 members of the Senate Finance Committee in a letter has asked CMS to reconsider a proposed regulation that would reduce Medicare reimbursements for long-term care hospitals, CQ HealthBeat reports (CQ HealthBeat, 4/12).
The regulation, which CMS proposed on Jan. 27, would reduce Medicare reimbursements for "short-stay outliers," or beneficiaries who stay at LTCHs for relatively short periods of time. According to CMS, under the regulation, Medicare would reimburse LTCHs for short-stay outliers at the same rate as the program reimburses acute care hospitals.
CMS has estimated that the regulation will reduce Medicare reimbursements for LTCHs by 11% for the 12-month period that begins on July 1 (California Healthline, 4/7).
Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), ranking member of the committee, said that, although CMS should seek to "develop a system of care that makes sense for very ill patients and taxpayers alike," the regulation "goes too far."
A CMS spokesperson said that the comment period for the regulation has ended but added that the agency is "always glad to hear from Congress about what it thinks."
Earlier this month, a bipartisan group of lawmakers sent a letter to HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt that raised concerns about the regulation (CQ HealthBeat, 4/12).