A legislative provision that would delay implementation of the Medicare Severity DRG payment system and prevent billions of dollars in Medicare payment cuts to hospitals passed the House on a 412-12 vote. The amendment now joins a broader, $607 billion fiscal 2008 bill to fund HHS, the Labor and Education departments, and related agencies.
Introduced by Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, the provision delays for 12 months the CMS move toward the more-detailed DRGs, while it stymies a 2.4% offset meant to compensate for upcoding that the government expects hospitals to engage in as the new system is implemented.
The American Hospital Association and other hospital groups criticized the CMS over the offsetwhich they called a backdoor cutas well as the implementation timeline for the MS-DRG, which is required under the proposed inpatient prospective payment system rule for fiscal 2008. The cut could cost hospitals about $24 billion.
The overall bill is expected to pass later tonight, but might not have the required votes to override an expected presidential veto. -- by Matthew DoBias