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Hospitals will receive a 2.3% increase in Medicare payments for outpatient services effective Jan. 1, 2002, under a final rule announced today by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
The new hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System administers more than $17.5 billion in reimbursement for more than 6,000 hospital departments.
The rule includes a one-time policy change for next year to reimbursements for new high-cost and high-technology drugs and devices mandated by Congress in the Balanced Budget Refinement Act of 1999. The rule updates payments annually to hospitals for Medicare outpatient services in the prospective payment system that began Aug. 1, 2000.
"Given the restraints of the law, this rule adopts the best possible balance between protecting beneficiary services in outpatient settings and ensuring that those beneficiaries have access to all the new drug and device technologies that are critical to their improved health," said Tom Scully, CMS administrator.
The regulation "folds in" 75% of the costs of high-technology drugs and devices to the base payments for outpatient services, resulting in a significant enhancement of payments for these new technologies. Under the law, all of the costs are required to be included in the base payments for 2003, and the payment system for 2002 begins the transition of those new payments.