CHA News

California Democrats Call on Administration to Stop Cuts in Proposed IPPS Rule

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Led by Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-CA), 14 members of the California Democratic congressional delegation sent a letter this week to President Obama urging the administration to alter its proposed inpatient prospective payment system (IPPS) rule, which would decrease Medicare hospital payments by as much as $300 million in California for fiscal year (FY) 2011.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) proposed IPPS rule includes a 2.9 percent cut that would cripple California hospitals’ ability to provide high-quality services to Medicare patients, and impede progress toward meaningful health care reform.

CMS claims the reduction, which amounts to $3.7 billion nationwide in FY 2011, would recoup half of purported overpayments in 2008 and 2009 due to changes in coding and documentation processes, rather than actual changes in case mix. This coding offset assumes that hospital payments have increased solely due to changes in coding or classification of patients, and ignores the fact that hospitals are treating more complex and severely ill patients.

CHA believes CMS’ formula for determining changes in case mix is fundamentally flawed and the cut is unwarranted. California congressional members who signed the letter are Reps. Dennis Cardoza, Lois Capps, Jim Costa, Susan Davis, Sam Farr, Bob Filner, John Garamendi, Barbara Lee, Zoe Lofgren, Doris Matsui, Jerry McNerney, Grace Napolitano, Laura Richardson and Lucille Royball Allard. A copy of the letter is available in the attachment.