CMS increases hospital outpatient payments

Starting in 2010, hospital outpatient departments will see a 1.9 percent increase in their Medicare payments under a proposed CMS rule that will change payment structures. The new rule would allow hospitals, for the first time, to bill Medicare for pulmonary and intensive cardiac rehab in outpatient departments.

CMS would also pay rural  hospitals for offering kidney disease education in their outpatient departments for Medicare beneficiaries who are in end-stage chronic kidney disease.

Meanwhile, the agency is seeking public comment on additional quality measures for future updates, and is phasing in a new validation requirement to make sure hospitals are accurately reporting measures for chart abstracts.

CMS will pay out a total of $31.5 billion more to more than 4,000 hospitals next year under the outpatient prospective payment system. That's up from an increase from projected payments of $28.7 billion in 2009. Total payments to ASCs are projected to be $3.4 billion in 2010.

To learn more about the update:
- read this Modern Healthcare piece (reg. req.)