CMS rejects Medicaid hospital coverage cap

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has rejected a plan for Hawaii to cap its hospital stays at 10 days for Medicaid patients, reported Kaiser Health News.

Had the CMS approved the plan, it would have been one of the most restrictive hospital covenants in the nation, noted the article. Instead, the agency has approved a plan to cap stays at a maximum of 30 days, exempting pregnant women, children, cancer patients, the elderly, blind and disabled.

Several states already restrict the length of hospital coverage, although most are at around 30 days, according to Kaiser, with Alabama capped at 16 days.

The proposal from Hawaii is one of many that have been put forward by states faced with distressed budgets due to the lingering effects of the Great Recession, although some have failed to succeed. Washington state, for example, just backed away from a plan to cut emergency room payments for Medicaid patients, The Seattle Times reported.

As an alternative, Hawaii officials said they would cut income eligibility for Medicaid from 200 percent of the federal poverty level to 133 percent, Kaiser reported.

To learn more:
- read the Kaiser Health News article
- here's the Seattle Times article