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Hospital outpatient services get 6.6% increase
Hospitals would receive a 6.6% total increase in payments for outpatient services under a proposed outpatient prospective payment system (OPPS) rule issued for calendar year 2005. The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) includes a 3.3% payment rate increase for OPPS services. This rate increase, along with other policy changes, will increase Medicare OPPS payments from $22.7 billion in 2004 to $24.2 billion, a 6.6% increase in total payments. CMS has suggested these changes:
At press time, the proposed rule was scheduled to be published in the Aug. 16 Federal Register. Go to: www.cms.hhs.gov/providers/hopps/. Under "highlights," click on "CMS-1427-P." Comments will be accepted until Oct. 8, and the final rule is scheduled to be published by Nov. 1.