Maryland hospitals get lower-than-requested pay hike

Maryland's hospitals received a lower-than-desired price increase for the first part of fiscal 2014, a development that is likely to put more financial pressure on inpatient providers, the Baltimore Business Journal reported.

The Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission approved a 1.65 percent rate increase for the state's hospitals that begins in July and is good through December. The hospitals had been lobbying for a 2.43 percent rate hike.

"They're really pushing all hospitals into a losing financial position," Maryland Hospital Association chief executive officer Carmela Coyle told the Journal. "It's not good for care; it's not good for communities."

However, commission members had to strike a balance between appeasing hospitals to some extent while renegotiating a waiver with the federal government that allows the state to set rates in the first place, according to the Baltimore Sun.

"I feel pretty strongly that in this environment where cost competition has essentially been removed, that the pressure of limited resources is the only way that you get real interest in improving productivity," commission member Stephen Jencks, a senior fellow at the Institute for Health Care Improvement told the paper.

"We believe the commission is too singularly focused on the fear of losing the waiver," Coyle said. "But what good is the waiver if in the process we bankrupt Maryland hospitals?"

To learn more:
- read the Baltimore Business Journal article
- read the Baltimore Sun article