In the federal fiscal year (FFY) 2019 inpatient prospective payment system final rule, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized its second year of a three-year transition to use Worksheet S-10 data for distributing Medicare disproportionate share hospital (DSH) uncompensated care payments. CMS will use two years (FFYs 2014 and 2015) of Worksheet S-10 cost report data and one year of proxy data to distribute the uncompensated care payments for FFY 2019.
In response to comments from CHA, CMS noted in the final rule that it planned audits of the data in fall 2018. In late August, CMS began audits of selected hospitals’ FFY 2015 cost reports. A number of hospitals in California have received this data request, and must respond by Sept. 28.
Because CMS has given the Medicare administrative contractors (MACs) only until the end of January to complete the audits, providers have a short timeline to complete this work with their MACs. Though CHA acknowledges that this presents a challenge from both technical and resource perspectives, CHA highly encourages hospitals that have received a request to respond as quickly as possible. Early communication with Noridian (or its subcontractor, Figliozzi & Company) is critical under this short timeline. A copy of the letter Noridian sent to select providers requesting documentation is attached; these letters are consistent across all MACs.
Last night the House of Representatives passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013. The Senate is expected to do so today, and the President has indicated he will sign the measure. The vote in the House was 332-62; nine Californians voted against passage. The legislation contains both good news and bad news for California’s hospitals.
Also this week, the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees reported bipartisan legislation to repeal the sustainable growth rate (SGR) for physician Medicare payments. They will continue to work toward a permanent solution during the first quarter of 2014. The financing mechanisms for offsetting the cost of repeal have not been released. Payments to hospitals continue to be vulnerable as the committees look for as much at $150 billion over the next 10 years to pay for the SGR repeal.
CHA has provided the attached summary of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 with additional information about the hospital-related provisions.
CHA President/CEO C. Duane Dauner was joined by 10 representatives of CHA member hospitals in Washington, D.C., Dec. 3 for the CHA and American Hospital Association hospital advocacy day. The group met with about half of the California Congressional delegation, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, and Sens. Boxer and Feinstein.
CHA has joined with California’s safety-net hospitals on the Disproportionate-Share Hospital (DSH) Task Force to send a letter to members of the California congressional delegation urging them to protect the Medicaid program from any additional cuts to hospital payments. As the House searches for spending reductions to offset the elimination of cuts to defense spending, proposals have emerged to reduce states’ ability to use Medicaid provider taxes and DSH payments. These programs provide critical means for hospitals to bolster their ability to preserve health care services for the state’s most needy patients. CHA will continue to advocate against further cuts to hospitals as the House continues its budget reconciliation process. The DSH Task Force letter is attached.