GAO: Supplement Medicaid payments to hospitals rising

Providers received $32 billion in supplemental payments in 2010, a jump from previous years, according to a new audit by the Government Accountability Office, the publication Governing reported.

Of those payments, $14.4 billion represented non-disproportionate share  hospital (DSH) payments, with the percentage of non-DSH supplements payments ranging from 1 percent in Vermont to as high as 17 percent in Illinois. Such payments were only $6.4 billion in 2006, according to Governing.

The GAO report noted that many states have made changes to leverage additional funds. Colorado, for example, moved to increase payments for rural hospitals, which brought in an additional $411 million in 2010.

Altogether, the GAO pegged those increased payments to 15 states, and that most of the bump came in the form of additional payments to hospitals for inpatient care, according to its report.

However, the GAO said the exact amount of non-DSH supplemental payments that have been made is unknown because "not all states that made non-DSH supplemental payments in 2010 reported them." It cited Georgia, which reported no non-DSH supplemental payments at all. However, it paid $120.6 million in supplemental payments to nursing homes, the GAO report noted.

The GAO recommended that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services make improvements to the reporting process used by states to get a clearer picture of how Medicaid funds are being spent.

For more:
- read the Governing article
- here's the GAO report (.pdf)