Stark sponsors measure to curb LTC hospital growth

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A bill was introduced in Congress to stop the creation of long-term care hospital beds until further investigation shows they are not merely cash cows, but necessary for the aging public. Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) sponsored the measure, which would place a moratorium on new long-term care hospital beds until it is determined whether the hospitals really add value to care.

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission has released data showing that there may be an overlap between the types of patients treated in LTC hospitals and skilled nursing facilities. LTC hospitals, however, are four to five times more expensive.

The number of LTC hospitals has grown to 300 from 109 over the last decade. Spending on the facilities has increased from $398 million in 1993 to a projected $2.3 billion in 2005.

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