Sixty-one U.S. senators signed a letter to CMS Administrator Mark McClellan, M.D., expressing concern about a proposal to expand Medicare's post-acute transfer policy to cover a projected 223 DRGs up from 30.
The letter, sent by Craig Thomas (R-Wyo.) and Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and signed by 59 other senators, said such an expansion would penalize hospitals for delivering efficient care and reduce Medicare spending by more than $5 billion over fiscal 2006 to fiscal 2010. Under the current transfer policy, hospitals receive less than the standard payment when they discharge patients diagnosed with one of the 30 DRGs to nursing homes or other post-acute settings earlier than the average length of stay for the DRG.
The senators wrote that the policy "undermines the basic principles and objectives" of Medicare's prospective payment system and expanding the list of DRGs subject to the policy would exacerbate the problem.