MedPAC reaffirms calls for hospital pay bump, SGR repeal

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) on Friday issued its March report, urging Congress to increase inpatient and outpatient hospital pay by 1 percent but keep payment the same for long-term-care hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, skilled nursing facilities and home-health providers.

In the report, MedPAC also reaffirms its recommendation for a two-year rebasing of the home-health payment system kicking in this year, instead of having four-year rebasing begin in 2014 as mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, AHA News Now reported.

The report explains MedPAC recommendations approved in January, which include more calls to repeal the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula and replace it with legislated updates and incentives for more organized healthcare delivery.

"It is critical for the Congress to act now to resolve the SGR. Delay will not leave the Congress with a better set of choices, providers' frustration with the SGR is increasing, and recent changes in scoring have substantially  reduced the cost of repeal," MedPAC Chief  Glenn M. Hackbarth said in the report.

Hackbarth has been warning that Medicare could face a national crisis unless lawmakers overhaul the formula used to pay doctors, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

In the new report, MedPAC also recommended Congress eliminate the payment update for ambulatory surgical centers in 2014 and make them submit cost data. That recommendation comes as hospitals face increasing competition from outpatient surgery centers that operate with smaller staff and overhead.

For more:
- read the AHA News Now brief
- here's the report (.pdf)