CMS recommends 3.1% increase in Medicare pay to LTC hospitals

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has proposed a 3.1% increase in Medicare payments for long-term care hospitals in fiscal 2006.

The proposal would increase total payments to hospitals under the long-term care health prospective payment system to $2.96 billion during the 2006 rate year, according to CMS. It would apply to discharges on or after July 1, 2005, through June 30, 2006. The rule is expected to be published in Thursday's Federal Register.

"We are continuing a smooth transition to a prospective payment methodology for services provided by long-term care hospitals to pay them most appropriately for treating the most severely ill Medicare beneficiaries," said CMS Administrator Mark B. McClellan in a statement.

Long-term care hospitals are those that have an average Medicare inpatient length of stay greater than 25 days. The prospective payment system for them was implemented in late 2002 and sets payments for approximately 330 facilities.