HHS will receive $168.8 billion in funding under a spending bill passed last week by the Senate.
That's nearly $35 million more than the amount requested by the Clinton administration, but less than fiscal 1994's $176.8 billion budget.
The spending measure, which was passed last month by the House, took effect Oct. 1, the start of the federal government's fiscal 1995.
The legislation was sent to President Clinton for his signature.
Meanwhile, both the House and Senate were expected to consider a series of Medicare amendments, many of which hospitals have sought for several years.
The amendments include a number of items dropped from last year's budget agreement because of a rule known as the "Byrd rule," which is named after Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Appropriations Committee. The Byrd rule is designed to keep politicians from loading pet projects and other extraneous measures onto budget legislation.
Among the Medicare amendments are:
The reauthorization of the Essential Access Community Hospital program, designed to maintain rural hospital service, and the Rural Health Transition grant program, which assists rural facilities by paying for strategic planning and restructuring services.
A provision to modify the three-day prospective payment "window" so non-PPS hospitals aren't forced to accept DRG reimbursements.
A provision that would authorize HHS to account for the occupational mix in the hospital wage-index calculation. That change would allow the government to pay more money to facilities that employ more highly paid workers.
A requirement that HHS begin collecting data needed to compute a wage index for skilled-nursing facilities based on SNF wages rather than on hospital wages.
Unlike in past years, the 1995 HHS spending bill includes very few issues of concern to hospitals, according to American Hospital Association lobbyists following the measure.
While the HHS budget was reduced overall, some areas saw significant increases.
For example, the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research received $162.7 million in funding, up from $154 million in 1994.
The Ryan White AIDS program, which is designed to funnel money to areas hardest hit by AIDS, received nearly $633 million, an increase of $53.6 million over fiscal 1994 but significantly below the more than $672 million requested by the Clinton administration (See related story, p. 81).
The community health center program will receive nearly $617 million, an increase from $604 million in fiscal 1994.