By Julian Pecquet - 05/19/10 11:56 PM EDT
Hospital groups are pushing back against a provision in the pending tax extenders bill that they say could slash their Medicare payments by $4.5 billion over 10 years.
Hospitals fear that the provision could forbid them from billing some
care administered within 72 hours of a patient’s admission separately
from the bill they would send for a patient’s hospital stay, which is
Groups representing hospitals point out their industry already
accepted payment cuts under the healthcare law signed by President
Barack Obama earlier this year.
Pending Medicare rules, she adds, suggest additional cuts are coming
that would hit teaching hospitals particularly hard.
“We cannot support an additional $4.5 billion in Medicare hospital
payment cuts,” Mitchell writes in the e-mail, which was obtained by The
Hill. “Please share any feedback you might receive; your input will
greatly help in our efforts to block the cuts.”
While several hospital groups have touted the $4.5 billion figure,
Democrats have not given a specific estimate of the provision’s cost.
A summary of the pending bill released Thursday by Senate Finance
Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and House Ways and Means Committee
Chairman Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) says the Congressional Budget Office is
still estimating the provision’s savings to Medicare.
“The bill would … [prevent] future unbundling of services and
submission of adjustment claims seeking separate and additional Medicare
payments,” the summary says.
The bill was expected to come before the House Rules Committee late
Thursday and hit the House floor on Friday. Lawmakers want to pass it
before the Memorial Day recess because it affects a number of expiring
provisions, but its support in the Senate remains shaky.
Many deficit-wary members are concerned that some three-quarters of
the package, which could top $200 billion, was unpaid for in early
versions of the legislation. The cuts to hospital payments would help
pay for the bill.
The American Hospital Association has also weighed in against the
“We oppose inclusion of this provision in the jobs bill to reduce
further hospital reimbursement,” the group wrote in an action alert to
its members sent Thursday morning.