Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-Conn.), chairwoman of the House Ways and Means health subcommittee, has advised CMS Administrator Tom Scully that a proposal to expand Medicare policy on post-acute patient transfers would harm many hospitals. Under the 5-year-old policy, hospitals that discharge certain patients to post-acute facilities sooner than the average stay for that DRG receive per diem payments instead of the DRG rate. The switch often results in lower reimbursement. The CMS has proposed expanding the policy to 19 additional DRGs in 2004; currently, 10 DRGs are subject to it. In a July 24 letter to Scully, Johnson urged him not to adopt the proposal in the final 2004 inpatient rule, which is due out next week. She sent a similar letter to Republican colleagues asking for their support on the issue. According to the CMS, expanding the transfer policy would reduce hospital payments by $160 million in 2004. -- by Jeff Tieman
Johnson urges CMS not to expand transfer policy
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