The use of Medicare provider numbers—rather than physical campuses—as the basis for doling out federal incentive payments for the use electronic health-records systems is expected to soon face a legislative challenge. A bipartisan group led by Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) plans to introduce legislation sought by some hospitals that would require the CMS to issue those Medicare and Medicaid provider incentives to each campus in a multicampus hospital system, according to a May 26 letter (PDF) to congressional colleagues.
Bipartisan House group to seek EHR payment change
"For hospital systems with multiple hospital campuses under the same provider number, this means a significant reduction in provider payments that will make the development of required health IT systems more difficult," the letter noted.
The CMS' final rule implementing the first stage of the incentive payment program established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 directed incentive payments to be distributed based on Medicare provider numbers, not physical campuses.
Subsequently, federal officials said that payment approach was taken because it echoed the way previous federal rules treated hospitals, and any departure from that approach would require legislative authorization.
The American Hospital Association and the Association of American Medical Colleges support the planned bill, according to a statement.
The change also was urged by a bipartisan group of senators, who wrote the CMS in March to request that the policy be modified so each hospital within a system could be eligible for the incentive payments.
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