A trio of House lawmakers have introduced a two-part amendment as part of a larger appropriations bill that would delay for one year CMS implementation of the Medicare Severity DRG payment system, or MS-DRG, and would prevent the agency from levying a 2.4% behavioral offset that hospital groups said would cost them about $24 billion in Medicare service payments.
The behavioral offset is designed to compensate for upcoding that the government expects hospitals to engage in as the new DRGs are implemented.
Reps. John Lewis (D-Ga.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Jerry Weller (R-Ill.) sponsored the amendment, which they plan to attach to the $154.2 billion Labor-HHS appropriations bill. A vote on the amendment could come as early as this evening.
The American Hospital Association and other hospital groups criticized the CMS over the so-called behavioral offset as well as the implementation timeline for the MS-DRG, which are required under the proposed inpatient prospective payment system rule for fiscal 2008.
A letter circulated by Lewis and Weller earlier this year opposing the behavioral offset and the MS-DRG implementation timeline received 269 signatures, while a similar letter in the Senate garnered 63 names. -- by Matthew DoBias