(Updated with comment from the American Hospital Association at 2:30 p.m. ET.)
Hospitals should receive a 1% increase in their inpatient and outpatient Medicare payment rates, according to draft recommendations released Thursday by the head of Congress' primary Medicare advisory group.
Glenn Hackbarth, chairman of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, issued the draft increase based on his staff's conclusion that patients' access to care and the quality of care have generally improved, while the number of hospitals has continued to increase and costs have slowed.
The rate increases, on which the full commission will vote in January, are based on current rates and do not account for the effect of a looming 2% cut to all Medicare providers from a separate deficit-reduction deal that is scheduled to begin in February.