Bill would expand prompt Medicaid reimbursement to all providers

A new bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives would require Medicaid to reimburse all providers, including hospitals, nursing facilities, and community health centers, in a timely manner.

As of now, only physicians are guaranteed prompt Medicaid payment. But under the Fair Pay to Medicaid Providers Act proposed by Reps. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.) and Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.), states would have to pay 90 percent of Medicaid claims to all providers within 30 days of receiving the claims, and 99 percent of claims within 90 days.

"Any delay of payment for care provided to patients can jeopardize facility operations and make it difficult to pay employees," Bilbray said in statement. "This legislation guarantees that health care providers are paid in a timely manner so that they can focus on helping those in need without worrying about how they are going to meet their financial obligations," he added.

The bipartisan bill has been referred to the Committee on Energy & Commerce, CardiovascularBusiness notes.

Medicaid payments have been a hot-button issue with 28 states cutting or freezing hospital payment rates this year, and 40 states planning to in 2012. But hospitals aren't taking such cuts lying down, suing the federal and state governments to try to block the reduced payments.

For more information:
- here's the bill (.pdf)
- read the statement from Reps. Eschoo and Bilbray
- read the CardiovascularBusiness article