KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Medicare Proposes That Hospitals Provide More Transparency On Prices

In a proposed rule, federal officials lay out new regulations for hospitals that include offering a standard list of prices, the new federal payment rates, observation care and readmissions.

The Hill:  New Price Transparency Rules For Hospitals
Hospitals will be required to release a standard list of prices for their medical services under a new rule proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Instituted as part of the Affordable Care Act, the requirement can also be fulfilled if hospitals allow the public access to the data after an inquiry, CMS said (Viebeck, 5/1).

Modern Healthcare:  Proposed Medicare Rule Would Mean Less Money For Many Hospitals
Medicare payments for inpatient treatment at acute-care hospitals will decrease by $241 million in fiscal 2015 under a proposed rule issued by the CMS on Wednesday. The proposed change would affect roughly 3,400 hospitals nationwide. In addition, the CMS proposes increasing Medicare payments to long-term-care hospitals by 0.8% in 2015, a bump of $44 million. The change in payment methodology would affect 435 facilities. ... In response to the hostile response from healthcare providers to the so-called two-midnight rule, the agency asks for suggestions from healthcare providers on ways Medicare might approach reimbursement for short hospital stays. The American Hospital Association is suing the CMS over the policy, which indicates that most hospital visits that don’t span two midnights should be billed as outpatient observation care (Demko, 4/30).

CQ HealthBeat:  Medicare Proposes Hospital Inpatient Payment Updates
General acute care hospitals would get a 1.3 percent Medicare payment rate increase and long-term acute care facilities an 0.8 percent hike in fiscal 2015 under a proposed rule issued late Wednesday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The proposal would adjust payment reductions for unnecessary hospital readmissions from the current 2 percent to 3 percent. And hospitals that perform poorly in keeping patients from acquiring infections in their facilities would see inpatient payments cut by 1 percent (Reichard, 4/30).

And in another Medicare announcement - 

Kaiser Health News: New Medicare Procedures Seek To Stop Overpayment Of Drugs For Hospice Patients
New Medicare guidance taking effect today aims to stop the federal government from paying millions of dollars to hospice organizations and drug insurance plans for the same prescriptions for seniors. But the changes may make it more difficult for dying patients to get some medications, senior advocates and hospice providers say (Jaffe, 5/1).

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