Hospital Chiefs Worry About Health Law's Effects, CMS Proposes Medicare Payment Cuts

Kansas hospital chiefs worried about their bottom lines are waiting to see the consequences that the n ew health law will have on their organizations, the Kansas Health Institute News Service reports.

Among the concerns: "Non-profit hospitals will be required to conduct and submit a 'community needs assessment,' after which their progress in meeting the needs will be measured in three-year intervals. Those making little or no progress will risk losing their nonprofit status." Other changes for hospitals include: the requirement that they make sure patients know when free or discounted care is available, a reduction in payments to "Disproportionate Share Hospitals" — which serve the indigent — of 75 percent, penalties when Medicare patients are readmitted within 30 days of discharge and a likely jump in patients from newly-insured seeking care (Ranney, 4/19).

CQ HealthBeat: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released a proposal that would reduce payment to hospitals for Medicare patients by 0.1 percent in fiscal year 2011. "The 1,296-page regulatory proposal does not factor in a provision in the health care overhaul law that would reduce the market basket figure by minus 0.25 percentage points, which would add to the cut" (4/20).

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