GAO: CMS should better align hospital uncompensated care payments with costs

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services should better align Medicare uncompensated care payments with hospitals’ actual uncompensated care costs, the Government Accountability Office said in a report released yesterday. In the report, CMS agreed with the recommendation, noting that the hospital inpatient prospective payment system proposed rule for fiscal year 2017 called for transitioning to a new data source to allocate the statutory amount of uncompensated care payments. “In the event [the Department of Health and Human Services] finalizes its proposal to begin using uncompensated care cost data from the Medicare cost report to determine the distribution of these Medicare payments, we intend to continue to review the definition of uncompensated care as appropriate, including evaluating how to identify different payment streams intended to compensate hospitals for providing uncompensated care and the degree to which to incorporate these into the definition,” CMS said. Requested by the chairs of the Senate Finance and House Energy and Commerce committees, the GAO report examines federal efforts to help hospitals with uncompensated care costs and the basis for determining federal payment amounts for these costs.

Topic: Advocacy and Public Policy
Tags: Medicare, uncompensated care

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