Democrats ask Congress to investigate growth of LTC hospitals

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Democrats on the Joint Economic Committee said Congress should investigate the rapid growth of long-term care hospitals, questioning whether the growth is due to high profitability. A report issued by Rep. Fortney Stark (D-CA), senior Democrat, charges the demand could be created by the LTC hospitals rather than patient needs.

"[I]t may be appropriate for Congress, which is responsible for the oversight of Medicare expenditures, to enact legislation temporarily placing a moratorium on the future growth of this provider segment until these questions can be answered," the report stated.

The report cites numbers released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The base cost to Medicare for a single treatment in a long-term care facility is $35,700, compared with an inpatient rehabilitation facility ($12,500), skilled nursing facility ($8,300), and home health care services ($4,000), according to the CDC.

More information about the report is available at www.senate.gov/~jec/democrats/index.html.

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