Administration proposes increasing hospital Medicare payments

The proposal would also implement some features of the Affordable Care Act.

The CMS would reduce the extra payments it makes to hospitals with many low-income patients by up to 75 percent, to account for more people who will have health insurance as required by the law, and lays out a new framework for a patient safety program, scheduled to be launched in 2015. The program would promote safe habits by reducing payments to poorly performing hospitals by 1 percent and punish hospitals with patients who continually check back in for readmission.

“The new policies in this proposed rule support hospitals’ important work and the people with Medicare who depend on them by promoting safety and care improvement," said a statement from the CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner.

The CMS is accepting comments to the proposal until June 25, and expects to issue a final rule by Aug. 1.