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CMS Reports Expected Hike in Inpatient Hospital Payments

The proposed changes to the Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) put forth by the Medicare program could have a large impact on medical facilities for the Fiscal Year 2018.  As is the practice, CMS requests comment from stakeholders in the Public Use File (PUF).  They  seek input on how the IPPS could be made more transparent, flexible, and straightforward.  CMS considers advice on a wide array of related topics including administrative processes, payment reform, and much more.

Along with this, the proposal also came with a statement regarding an expected increase in inpatient payments for the 2018 fiscal year.  Between 2016 and 2017, the payment increase was just one percent, and nothing to raise any real excitement among the hospitals of the nation.  However, CMS has suggested that the increase in payments for the next year will be closer to three percent, which will undoubtedly cause a surge of happiness for the medical facilities.

According the reports on this topic, the expected CMS uncompensated care payments in 2018 will hover around $6.9 billion, nearly $1 billion more than is to be paid in FY 2017.  There is even better news that comes in conjunction with this – the payments will not be concentrated in urban areas.  Instead, it is expected that the increase will be spread evenly over urban and rural settings.  Additionally, if this proposal is made the official ruling of the CMS, the 2-midnight rule would be abolished.  In fact, the CMS has suggested a temporary +0.6% increase in payments to refund the reductions of the past three years, related to the rule.

There is a great deal outlined in the proposal put forth by the CMS.  In addition to those items previously mentioned, there was mention of a desire to adjust the process of calculating the proportion of patients eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare.  These patients, of course, represent a particular risk for medical facilities, as there is often a gap in coverage that typically results in bad debt.

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