Federal lawmakers this week told CMS officials that they oppose two provisions in the proposed inpatient prospective payment system regulation that they said would result in a $25 billion hit to hospitals over five years.
In letters sent to the CMS as part of the comment period on the proposed PPS regulation, 64 senators and 269 members of the House said they opposed a 2.4% cut to operating and capital payments that is included in the rule and a second provision that would result in reduced payments to urban hospitals.
In its proposed rule for fiscal 2008, the CMS unveiled plans to create 745 new severity-adjusted DRGs to replace the 538 existing ones. The idea, CMS acting Administrator Leslie Norwalk said at the time, is to significantly improve the predictability, reliability and fairness of Medicare payments, when combined with other reforms.
But the American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals have said that the proposal contains backdoor cuts that the CMS wants to apply to the standard payment rate to compensate for changes to the DRGs.
The comment period for the proposed regulation ended Tuesday. The CMS is expected to issue its final rule on Aug. 1. -- by Matthew DoBias