Federal lawmakers have approved a hospital-friendly extenders bill that, in part, trims back the so-called behavioral offset the CMS included in its inpatient prospective payment system and which was set to go into effect Oct. 1.
The bill reduces what the American Hospital Association estimated would be a $20 billion cut in Medicare hospital payments, restoring about $7 billion in payments over the next five years.
The CMS has argued that the offset would be needed to adjust for presumed upcoding that could occur as the new system of MS-DRGs are implemented. The AHA, the Federation of American Hospitals and others, however, immediately opposed the cuts.
Considering how difficult it is to get any legislation through Congress right now, the fact that we were successful in getting some relief in this reduction is a major victory for hospitals, said FAH President Chip Kahn. Over time, there are a lot of issues well have to deal with regarding implementation, but at least in the short run, weve got some relief.
The legislation also contains a handful of other provisions, including one that delays by six months a requirement to use tamper-resistant prescription pads under the Medicaid program and another that adds funding to the Medicare Physician Assistance and Quality Initiative fund. -- by Matthew DoBias
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