Hospital outpatient departments will see a 2.15% increase in their Medicare payments under a proposed CMS rule that will set payment rates for outpatient services and ambulatory surgical centers in 2011.
CMS proposes 2.15% outpatient update
The update reflects an inflationary increase of 2.4% minus a 0.25 percentage point reduction required under the new reform law. Overall, the agency estimates that more than 4,000 hospitals and other facilities will get paid a total of $40 billion next year under the outpatient prospective payment system, whereas 5,000 ambulatory surgery centers will receive approximately $4 billion.
According to the CMS, the rulemaking includes several Affordable Care Act provisions to boost payments to certain groups of hospitals.
For example, it will require Medicare to increase payments to a small number of cancer hospitals whose costs with respect to ambulatory payment groups are higher than the costs incurred by other hospitals, the CMS stated. In proposing this adjustment to these cancer hospitals, other hospitals will experience some reductions in payment to meet the budget neutrality requirement for these changes.
The proposed rule would also implement graduate medical education provisions of the Affordable Care Act, such as redistributing unused residency slots to hospitals with qualified residency programs.
The CMS plans to accept comments on the proposed rule until Aug. 31, and issue a final rule on Nov. 1.
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