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New Recommendations To Reduce Reimbursements To Home Health Agencies

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission on Thursday during the first day of a two-day meeting approved recommendations that would reduce Medicare reimbursements to home health agencies and increase payments to long-term care hospitals and dialysis centers, CQ HealthBeat reports.

Under the recommendations, which MedPAC will include in a report issued to Congress in March, Medicare would eliminate a planned market basket increase in reimbursements to home health agencies for fiscal year 2010 and shift planned reductions for coding adjustments to FY 2010 from FY 2011. The recommendations would reduce reimbursements to home health agencies by 5.5% from FY 2009 levels.

In addition, MedPAC approved recommendations that would require Congress to direct the HHS secretary to revise reimbursement rates for home health services in 2011 to account for the average cost of care, develop studies to determine which payment measures would ensure the quality of services provided to Medicare beneficiaries and establish incentives for delivery of such services.

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Additional Recommendations

MedPAC also approved recommendations that would freeze reimbursements to skilled nursing facilities and inpatient rehabilitation centers in FY 2010, increase payments for long-term care hospitals by 1.6% and increase the "composite rate" of reimbursements to dialysis facilities by 1% (Carey, CQ HealthBeat, 1/8).

In addition, MedPAC approved a recommendation that would increase Medicare reimbursements to primary care physicians by 1.1% in FY 2010, as well as a recommendation that would provide hospitals with a full market basket update for inpatient and outpatient care, a move that would increase payments to the facilities by an estimated 2.7%. The recommendation would link the update to the adoption of a quality incentive payment program; to help fund the program, MedPAC approved a recommendation that would reduce certain extra payments for the "indirect medical education" to teaching hospitals by one percentage point for each 10% increase in the ratio of hospital beds to the number of medical residents (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 1/8).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.