Medicare hospital payments to increase

U.S. government officials said they finalized out-patient Medicare hospital payment increases, which go into effect Jan. 1.

The Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System and Ambulatory Surgical Center updates Medicare payment policies and rates for hospital out-patient and Ambulatory Surgical Center services beginning Jan. 1.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said the payment increase affects hospital out-patient departments in more than 4,000 U.S. hospitals including: general acute care hospitals, in-patient rehabilitation facilities, in-patient psychiatric facilities, long-term acute care hospitals, children’s hospitals and cancer hospitals, as well as 5,000 Medicare-participating Ambulatory Surgical Centers.

The Medicare hospital out-patient departments payments will increase 1.8 percent. The increase is based on the projected hospital market basket — an inflation rate for goods and services used by hospitals — of 2.6 percent, minus 0.8 percent in statutory reductions, including a 0.7 percent adjustment for economy-wide productivity and a 0.1 percentage point adjustment required by statute, officials said.

Ambulatory Surgical Center payment rates will increase 0.6 percent — the projected rate of inflation of 1.4 percent minus a 0.8 percent productivity adjustment required by law, officials said.

Copyright 2012 by United Press International

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