The CMS' proposed regulations on long-term acute-care hospitals are risky and "may be inequitable," the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission said in comments on the proposal. The proposed regulations, governing 2005 Medicare payments, become final Oct. 1. Under them, long-term acute-care, or LTAC, hospitals operating within other hospitals could draw no more than 25% of their admissions from the host hospital. MedPAC said the 25% rule does not ensure patients receive care in the best post-acute setting, does not apply to free-standing facilities and may be circumvented by the construction of free-standing LTACs instead of hospitals within hospitals. Medicare spending on LTACs reached $1.9 billion in 2001, up from $398 million in 1993. The comment period for the regulation ended Monday. A bipartisan group of House and Senate lawmakers also commented in a letter to CMS Administrator Mark McClellan that the 25% rule "could potentially negatively impact a physician's ability to make decisions about which patients need to be transferred from the general hospital to the 'hospital-in-hospital' for more serious care." -- by Jeff Tieman
LTAC proposal could hurt patient care: comments
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