Heeding the call of hospitals, HCFA last week agreed to delay until January the imposition of new guidelines determining whether off-campus hospital-owned clinics will receive the same Medicare payments as hospital outpatient departments.
Final regulations published in April implementing a Medicare prospective payment system for outpatient departments included requirements that off-site facilities would have to meet to qualify for "provider-based" status and receive payments under the system.
The PPS took effect Aug. 1, and the requirements for off-site facilities were to become effective Oct. 10.
One of the rules mandated that any off-site clinic receiving PPS payments must be integrated into the parent hospital's finances and administration. Clinics established as joint ventures between two hospitals would be specifically excluded from the PPS.
In an Aug. 25 letter to HCFA Administrator Nancy-Ann Min DeParle, seven hospital groups urged a delay until April. They said the final regulations don't make clear what information hospitals must submit to HCFA for a facility to qualify for the PPS.