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MedPAC seeks 1% payment increase for hospitals

January 11, 2013
   The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) yesterday unanimously approved a final recommendation to increase inpatient and outpatient hospital payments by 1% in 2014. MedPAC is the chief adviser to Congress on Medicare payment policies.

MedPAC Chairman Glenn Hackbarth clarified that the 1% update should occur despite recent provisions in the 2012 “American Taxpayer Relief Act” (ATRA) that result in a negative update.

AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock said America’s hospitals “appreciated” MedPAC’s recommendation, which will be submitted to Congress in March.

“Since 2010, hospitals have been hit with repeated cuts, totaling $250 billion over the next 10 years,” Umbdenstock said. “After a thoughtful discussion and analysis, MedPAC recognized that a positive update for hospital services is warranted to ensure patients continue to have access to high-quality, effective and innovative care.”

In a Jan. 4 letter to MedPAC, AHA said a positive Medicare payment update was “absolutely essential.”

MedPAC in December considered a draft recommendation that did not take into account a 2% decrease in all Medicare payments scheduled to take effect in April under the “Budget Control Act,” nor the $11 billion cut to hospital inpatient payments included in the ATRA, the AHA letter notes. “We strongly urge Congress to follow MedPAC’s payment update recommendation to ensure that the quality health care that hospitals provide remains available to the patients they serve, and to reject any further reductions to hospitals in the upcoming debate on the debt ceiling and sequester,” Umbdenstock said.

MedPAC also confirmed its support for additional documencome tation and coding cuts, which Umbdenstock called “unwarranted.”

By Pete Davis