The nation's hospitals say they're disappointed with a coding adjustment the CMS made in the agency's proposed rule (PDF) for the inpatient prospective payment system that was released Tuesday.
In issuing the guidance, the CMS said it expects Medicare operating payments to acute-care hospitals for inpatient services in 2012 to decrease by about $498 million, or about 0.5%, compared with 2011, while its payments to long-term acute-care hospitals are projected to increase by 1.9%, or about $95 million.
Not long after the rule—which also provided guidance for the long-term acute care hospital prospective payment system—was issued, American Hospital Association President and CEO Richard Umbdenstock said in a statement that the proposed rule's cuts would make it more challenging for hospitals to care for patients and also would lead to increase costs for employers and other purchasher of private coverage. Umbdenstock also highlighted the coding adjustment.
“We remain concerned that CMS continues to move forward with the proposed ‘coding offset,' which is excessive and wrongly assumes spending on inpatient hospital care has increased solely due to changes in coding,” AHA President and CEO Richard Umbdenstock said in the statement. “Independent research confirms that CMS' methodology does not recognize that hospitals are caring for patients who are older and sicker.”
Chip Kahn, president and CEO of the Federation of American Hospitals echoed that sentiment in a written statement, calling the CMS proposal to impose an additional $3 billion coding and documentation cut to fiscal 2012 Medicare hospital payments "deeply disturbing."