Hospice industry sues to stop CMS pay cut

Officials with the national group representing hospices are hopping mad over CMS's plans to cut 4 percent from their reimbursement schedule, and are suing CMS to prevent the cuts. CMS had published the rule in August and plans to implement it in October, cutting $2.2 billion from its hospital provider reimbursement budget. The reduction, part of the White House's fiscal 2009 budget, comes from complex adjustments in the reimbursement rates dragged down by the current drop in the wage index.

That's not acceptable to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, whose president, J. Donald Schumacher, calls the rule "arbitrary and capricious" and argues that it will force many hospice providers to scale back their care to dying patients, or even go out of business. The Alliance for Care at the End of Life backs Schumacher, saying that the CMS's calculation of hospice rates isn't backed by current data. The group argues that proposed changes to hospital payments require substantive supporting evidence, which it doesn't find in the current budget proposal.

To learn more about this dispute:
- read this Modern Healthcare article (reg. req.)

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