Freshman House Democrats are requesting that Congress prevent certain provisions of the CMS new inpatient payment system for hospitals from going into effect on Oct. 1.
The new Medicare Severity-DRG system, which comprises 745 new DRGs that more accurately account for the severity of a patients condition, would restrict the ability of millions of patients to access critical hospital services, some 38 freshman members wrote in a letter to House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
To compensate for upcoding, hospitals are expected to engage in as the MS-DRG system is implemented, the CMS in a final rule adopted a negative 1.2% adjustment in fiscal 2008, with more cuts projected through fiscal 2010.
These cuts will result in a $20.3 billion overall reduction in operating and capital payments to hospitals over the next five years, the letter said, citing figures similar to American Hospital Association projections. The letter urged Pelosi to consider legislative avenues to prevent these cuts from taking place.
One of the letters signatories, Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) co-sponsored an amendment to next year's Labor-HHS appropriations bill that would have prevented the CMS from imposing the offset. Unfortunately, the letter said, the Bush administration has continued to move forward with these provisions despite the opposition in Congress. -- by Jennifer Lubell
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