The CMS proposed an across-the-board 1.9% cut in reimbursement rates for rehabilitation hospitals in fiscal 2006, citing evidence of upcoding, but said Medicare's overall payments for inpatient rehab services would rise 2.9%, or $180 million, over fiscal 2005. The proposed regulations include a 3.1% increase for inflation, additional payments for rural providers and a lower outlier threshold -- to $4,911 in fiscal 2006 from $11,211 in 2005. The CMS said an analysis of 2002 payments, the first year of the prospective payment system for rehab hospitals, showed spending had risen at least 1.9% and perhaps up to 5.8% compared with the previous year. The agency requested feedback on whether the compensatory rate reduction should be greater and said similar upcoding was common in the initial years of the acute-care hospital PPS. The proposed regulations will be published in the May 25 Federal Register. Comments will be accepted until July 18. Read the proposal. -- by Joseph Mantone
CMS moves to offset inpatient rehab upcoding
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