The CMS set the annual inflation update for hospital outpatient departments at 3.6% starting Jan. 1, but it will keep ambulatory surgical centers at this years rates. The federal agency also put outpatient departments on notice, saying that it will eventually adjust payments to reflect the quality of care thats delivered in the more than 4,000 hospital outpatient departments across the country.
The direct impact of the new quality initiatives will be felt by the beneficiaries Medicare serves and, as the nations largest payer for healthcare services, we are pointing the way to better, safer and more efficient care for all patients, acting CMS Administrator Kerry Weems said in a written statement.
The CMS projects it will pay hospitals some $30.1 billion in 2009 for outpatient services, up from $28.5 billion in projected payments for this year. The agency also expects to make payments of close to $3.9 billion in 2009 to the more than 5,100 ASCs that participate in Medicare, which compares to $3.5 billion projected for this year.
Additionally, outpatient departments will have to report on four new quality measures dealing with imaging efficiency in order to receive the full update in 2010. All told, hospital outpatient departments will have to report on 11 quality measures next year in order to receive the full update for 2010. -- by Matthew DoBias