The American Hospital Association continued to decry the CMS proposal to introduce an expanded system for evaluating patient severity, which the association says will cut industry payments by nearly $25 billion over five years.
In a letter to the CMS, the AHA and five other hospital groups reiterated their complaint that the inpatient prospective payment system rule would cut all operating and capital inpatient payments by 2.4% in fiscal 2008 and fiscal 2009. This is due to coding changes that the CMS believes might happen with the implementation of its proposed changes to the DRG classification system. The proposal would also eliminate certain capital-related cost provisions for urban hospitals, money thats used to purchase high-tech equipment such as MRI and CT scanners, as well as updating facilities and information systems.
At a time when increasing numbers of people rely on the Medicare program for their healthcare, it is necessary to strengthen the ability of hospitals to care for patients, the groups wrote. Yet, inexplicably, CMS has chosen a different course, one that would weaken hospitals ability to provide needed services. Other signatories included the Federation of American Hospitals, VHA, Premier, the Association of American Medical Colleges and the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems. -- by Jennifer Lubell