Senate Republican leaders said extending a moratorium on physician self-referral to specialty hospitals "was not warranted" but came out in favor of Medicare payment reforms advocated by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission and the CMS.
The Senate Republican Policy Committee outlined its views a day before a hearing on specialty hospitals takes place before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. The 18-month moratorium is set to end June 8, but Sens. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Max Baucus (D-Mont.) have introduced legislation to make the moratorium permanent by eliminating the whole-hospital exemption in self-referral law.
In addition, the CMS has said it expects to revise the DRG system to account for differences between general acute-care and specialty hospitals and that the changes could take six months to complete, effectively extending the moratorium. Read the policy committee's report.