CMS proposes pay raise for outpatient, ambulatory surgery centers‎

Under a proposed rule from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, hospital outpatient departments could see a 2.1 percent payment rate hike in 2013, while ambulatory surgery centers could see payments jump 1.3 percent, the agency announced Friday.

The proposals would affect outpatient departments at more than 4,000 hospitals and about 5,000 Medicare-certified ambulatory surgery centers (ASC).

With the proposed hikes, CMS predicts payments for services provided to Medicare beneficiaries in outpatient departments will total roughly $48.1 billion next year and payments to ASCs will total almost $4.1 billion.

CMS also proposed a pay increase for primary care physicians in 2013. Family physicians would get a 7 percent pay bump, and other primary care practitioners would see payments rise between 3 percent and 5 percent, MedPage Today reported.

CMS invites public comment on the proposed pay hikes until Sept. 4, with a final rule to be issued by Nov. 1.

Lately, hospitals have been critical of the agency's payment proposals. For instance, the American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals both blasted CMS for its methodology behind the proposal to cut inpatient prospective payments by 2.7 percent next year.

For more:
- here's the CMS proposal (.pdf) and announcement
- read the MedPage Today article