MedPAC recommends modest hospital payment increase for 2017

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has recommended a modest payment increase for hospitals in 2017 and no raise at all for providers in a number of other settings.

MedPAC recommended that hospitals receive a 1.65 percent overall Medicare payment increase for inpatient and outpatient services, AHA News Now reported. In slides presented at a public meeting last week, MedPAC officials projected an aggregate Medicare margin of negative 9 percent, down from negative 5.8 percent in 2014, but noted that hospital access to capital is generally strong.

MedPAC's recommendation fell short of the 3.2 percent pay bump the American Hospital Association requested for 2016 acute care inpatient payments.

Less popular was a proposed 10 percent payment cut to safety-net hospitals participating in the 340B discount drug program, which provoked strong criticism from the hospital community.

MedPAC also voted to recommend eliminating a 2017 pricing update for ambulatory surgical centers (ASC), AHA News notes.

MedPAC took a similar tack with home health agencies, skilled nursing facilities, inpatient rehabilitation facilities or long-term care hospitals, recommending no payment increases for 2017, according to another article by AHA News.

MedPAC also recommended revamping the payment system for home health systems over a two-year period beginning in 2018, and eliminating therapy as a factor in setting payments for home healthcare.

To learn more:
- read the AHA News hospital reimbursement article
- here's the AHA News post-acute reimbursement article
- check out the MedPAC hospital slides (.pdf)