Medicare payments for hospitals' inpatient and outpatient services should increase only 1%, the leader of Medicare's advisory panel recommended Thursday, while pay for evaluation and management in hospitals' outpatient facilities should drop to the amount provided to physicians' offices providing those services.
Hackbarth suggests 1% update for inpatient, outpatient services
Glenn Hackbarth, chairman of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, recommended the 1% update for inpatient and outpatient hospital services for 2013. Additionally, he recommended that Congress direct the secretary of HHS to use the difference in the current law update (2.9%) and their suggested 1% increase to gradually recover past over payments stemming from documentation and coding errors.
Separately, Hackbarth recommended reducing total Medicare pay to hospital outpatient departments for evaluation and management office visits to the total payment rates for such care provided in physician offices.
Finally, he recommended a 1% increase in the reimbursement rate for kidney dialysis services in 2013.
Although MedPAC members will not vote on the rate changes until January, the hospital recommendations began drawing immediate criticism from hospital advocates.
Both provisions would put hospital care in jeopardy, Blair Childs, senior vice president of public affairs at Premier healthcare alliance, said in a written statement.
“With hospital Medicare margins projected at -7.0 in 2012 and more reimbursement and sequestration cuts ahead, hospitals are already operating under tremendous financial challenges,” he wrote. “A full market basket update is a minimum step to ensure that hospitals have the financial resources needed to continue providing highest-quality patient care, while serving as a significant source of employment in their communities.”
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