Noteworthy News

MedPAC Proposes Pay Raise for Hospitals

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has urged Congress to direct the administration to raise Medicare acute-care hospital inpatient and outpatient fee-for-service rates 3.25 percent in FY 2015.

It also recommended no rate increases for ambulatory surgical centers, dialysis providers, skilled nursing facilities, home health care services, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, long-term-care hospitals, and hospice facilities in the coming fiscal year.

medpagIn addition, MedPAC urge Congress to direct the administration to revised the prospective payment system for skilled nursing facilities; implement a value-based purchasing system for ambulatory surgery centers no later than 2016; and reduce payments to skilled nursing facilities and home health agencies with high risk-adjusted rates of hospital readmissions.

MedPAC also recommended paying physician offices and hospital outpatient departments the same for selected procedures and doing the same for acute-care and long-term hospitals in some cases.

And MedPAC urged Congress to abolish the current Medicare sustainable growth rate formula (SGR) used to pay doctors and to replace it with a 10-year path of statutory fee increases that includes larger updates for primary care than specialty care services.

An independent agency, MedPAC is required to issue annual recommendations to Congress but those recommendations are not binding on Congress.  Nevertheless, MedPAC’s recommendations are highly respected, and even when not adopted when proposed, frequently have significant influence on future policy-making.

MedPAC offered additional recommendations as well.  Find those recommendations here, in a MedPAC fact sheet, and see MedPAC’s entire report to Congress here.

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