CMS proposes payment cuts to long-term care hospitals

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued a proposed rule that would reduce payment rates for long-term acute care hospitals by approximately 11% per discharge, according to industry representatives.

The long-term care hospital industry is expected to vigorously oppose the rule change, according to Peter C. Clendenin, executive vice president, National Association for the Support of Long Term Care, Alexandria, VA.

CMS is proposing that the long-term acute care hospital PPS federal payment rate remain unchanged at $38,000 for the 2007 year. Medicare payments to long-term care hospitals for FY 2007 are estimated to increase 70% over payments made in FY 2003, to $5.27 billion.

Long-term care hospitals generally have an average Medicare inpatient length of stay greater than 25 days. They provide extended medical and rehabilitative care for patients who are clinically complex and may suffer from multiple acute or chronic conditions.

CMS will solicit comments on the proposed rule, which is set to be published in Friday's Federal Register. CMS will accept comments on the proposal through March 20. 2006. The final rule will be published later this spring.

For more information, see the CMS web site at www.cms.hhs.gov/LongTermCareHospitalPPS/
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