A flurry of new CMS quality reporting measures has hospitals wondering how much strain the new requirements will mean for their institutions. “We embrace reporting and being measured for the care we provide to our patients, but a lot of these measures are weakly linked to science and are subject to a lot of variation,” says Alex Hover, left, of St. John’s Health System. “We’re going to need a lot of clarification.”
CMS actuaries predict that national health expenditures will rise over the next 10 years by $311 billion under the new healthcare law, but warned that the actual impact is highly uncertain and that scores of provisions in the package aim to reduce the cost of care. That’s $77 billion more than an earlier assessment of the version of the reform proposal the Senate approved in December, which served as the core of the legislation that was signed into law in March. Under the earlier proposal, federal actuaries said expenditures would increase $234 billion over the next decade. While the dollar amount is different, the underlying reasons for the increase are the same. The CMS expects that expanded coverage will lead to greater use of healthcare services coupled with lower federal payments to providers.