The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission recommended increases in hospital and physician payments in 2009, but voted for payment freezes on skilled-nursing facilities, inpatient-rehabilitation facilities and home healthcare.
Regarding hospitals, MedPAC said Congress should increase payment rates for inpatient and outpatient services at the full rate of inflation in fiscal 2009, which according to MedPAC Senior Analyst Craig Lisk is currently forecast to be 3%.
Commissioners voted to increase Medicare payments to physicians by 1.1% in 2009, which would ward off a projected 5% cut under Medicares physician fee-schedule formula next year, but that didnt please some physicians on the panel.
The commission also recommended reducing the indirect medical education adjustment by 1 percentage point in fiscal 2009. Carmela Coyle, the American Hospital Associations senior vice president of policy, said teaching hospitals could lose $900 million next year under that proposal.
The freezes were suggested with the implication that skilled-nursing facilities, inpatient-rehab facilities and home health facilities operate at higher margins.