Medicare intermediaries will be reimbursed for administrative costs at fiscal 1995 rates, and the federal government will cut projected increases in state Medicaid grants under stopgap legislation to keep the government partially running.
The measure, which was approved by Congress to end a three-week shutdown of government (See related story, p. 2), also funds state survey and certification activities required by HCFA at their fiscal 1995 level. It would fund federal healthcare programs through the end of fiscal 1996 on Sept. 30, and provide $96 billion in state Medicaid grants.
That total is $3 billion less than the Congressional Budget Office estimates would have been granted to the states had the normal funding law been in effect.
Meanwhile, the government will reimburse contractors that process Medicare claims the same amount as in fiscal 1995, which was $1.6 billion. Without that reimbursement, intermediaries could stop performing their Medicare duties, which include paying healthcare providers.
Before Congress passed the spending bill, HHS Secretary Donna Shalala had said intermediaries had reached a "danger zone," beyond which they may no longer fund claims processing out of their own pockets.
Federal funding for state surveys and certification of hospitals, nursing homes, home-care agencies and other healthcare facilities serving Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries would be $145.8 million.