MedPAC finalizes ASC, hospital pay recs
The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has adopted a final recommendation to freeze payments for ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs) under Medicare prospective payment systems (PPSs) for 2015, according to the American Hospital Association (AHA).
"MedPAC's decision not to recommend any payment update for ASCs in 2015 is short-sighted and ill-informed," says William Prentice, chief executive officer of the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association. "Essentially, the commissioners suggest that Medicare penalize the most efficient care provider in this market. Allowing the disparity in payment rates between ASCs and hospital outpatient departments that exists today to increase further will lead to fewer ASCs and higher costs to Medicare, its beneficiaries, and the taxpayers who support the Medicare program."
MedPAC also approved a final recommendation that Congress increase Medicare payment rates for the hospital outpatient and inpatient PPSs by 3.25% in 2015, according to the AHA. MedPAC noted that its recommendation is 5.25% if the sequester continues in 2015. The commission also recommended that, concurrently, Congress reduce or eliminate payment differences between hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs) and physician offices for selected procedures.
"We are pleased that MedPAC recommended a substantial update for hospitals in 2015, recognizing that even efficient hospitals will have negative margins," said Linda Fishman, AHA senior vice president for public policy analysis and development. "However, we are troubled by the recommendation to reduce or eliminate payment differences between hospital outpatient departments and physician offices for 66 ambulatory payment classifications, which could threaten access to care for Medicare beneficiaries."
For more information, see AHA's recent letter to MedPAC at http://bit.ly/1aM2BRf.