Hospital News: Nantucket's Paradox; Maryland Overbilling; Calif. Fee Complication

News media covered hospital issues in Massachusetts, Maryland and California.

The Boston Globe: 21 States Take Aim At Mass. Hospitals' Medicare Windfall
Nestled on an island 30 miles out to sea, Nantucket Cottage Hospital is the only rural hospital in Massachusetts, as defined by the federal government. Its weathered cedar shingles and widow's walk evoke the bygone era of its founding a century ago ... But the 19-bed hospital on the tony island, where the number of residents balloons from 10,000 to 50,000 each summer and the median home price hovers north of $1 million, has become a national symbol of inequity and political machinations in the way the federal government reimburses hospitals for treating Medicare patients (Jan, 1/13).

The Associated Press: Audit: Hospital Billing Not Properly Investigated
A Maryland commission did not adequately investigate the impact of hospital overbilling identified through annual reviews, a state audit released Friday found, noting overcharges of at least $13.2 million at four hospitals. ... The audit found four hospitals, which it did not name, charged for a procedure at rates ranging from 67 percent to 1,880 percent higher than allowed by the commission (Witte, 1/11).

California Healthline: Hospital Tax May Go To Reserve
The state budget proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown extends the Hospital Quality Assurance fee, which is due to expire at the end of 2013. The complicated fee structure was originally planned to gather about $2.8 billion from private hospitals over the 30-month life of the fee. Some of the money is used to tap federal matching money, which benefits both hospitals and the state. ... The issue for private hospitals, [Jan Emerson-Shea, of the California Hospital Association] said, is that the state wants to use the fee money to salt away a general fund reserve -- and the hospitals want it to go to health care services (Gorn, 1/14).

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