Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 21, 2014

Posts in "Hospitals"

September 19, 2014

Commission Examines Short Hospital Stay Payments

Congress needs lots of help in deciphering and analyzing Medicare provider payment policies and created an expert group – the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission – to advise on payment policy changes. A current major topic on Medicare payments relates to how hospitals are paid based upon the length of a hospital stay.

CQ HealthBeat’s (@CQHealthTweet) John Reichard reported this week that the Medicare payment commission is currently examining Medicare payment policy for single-day hospital stays.

Short inpatient stays, particularly for a single day, are one of the biggest money-makers for hospitals. Medicare currently pays hospitals a fixed sum for a particular diagnosis based on a calculation of costs that typically assumes a longer stay. However, Medicare auditors have targeted single-day stays in an effort to stamp out improper billing practices and the majority of Medicare claim denials in 2012 were for one-day stays.

Hospitals have taken steps to cut the risk of having their billings challenged and are increasingly classifying short-stay patients as being under “observational” status, which pays at lower outpatient rates.  However, patients listed in observational status must pay a 20 percent copay for outpatient treatment while they pay a fixed deductible for inpatient care of $1,200.

 

July 31, 2014

Medicare Payment Quirk Grabs Senate Panel’s Attention

Senators on Wednesday mulled the impact of a restriction in Medicare payment policies that has riled both hospitals and patients. When a Medicare patient stays in a hospital under “observation status” the person does not qualify for certain Medicare coverage in a subsequent stay in a nursing home or rehabilitation facility — and may end up paying more in co-payments and drug costs.

Full story

By Paul Jenks Posted at 10:10 a.m.
Hospitals, Medicare

July 14, 2014

It’s July, So Here’s Another Article on ‘the July Effect’

Vox.com pronounces that “The July effect is real: new doctors really do make hospitals more dangerous” in an article posted yesterday. As the site points out, the term “is shorthand for the supposed spike in medical mistakes at hospitals during the month of July — right when millions of medical residents start new jobs.”

Other publications have taken a crack at the topic in recent years; perhaps surprisingly, they’re not all from July. They sometimes cluster around a release of a study:

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