ONE PERCENT SOLUTION
The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission may recommend a 1% update for hospital inpatient services in fiscal 2012.
In draft recommendations for fiscal 2012, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission is considering a 1% update for hospital inpatient services, a figure that amounts to a full marketbasket update of 2.6% minus a 1.6% adjustment for documentation and coding improvements. The commission also discussed 1% updates for hospital outpatient services and physician payments. Although commission members discussed fixing the sustainable growth-rate formula, they did not make any recommendations on the issue (See story, p. 8). The commission relied on data gathered from a telephone survey of Medicare beneficiaries and privately insured patients to assess payment adequacy for doctors. In the post-acute sector, the commission considered recommending no update for skilled-nursing facilities, a segment it said has had—and is projected to have—higher Medicare margins than hospitals. Hospice providers could see a 1.5% update in 2012, and the commission also discussed re-running earlier recommendations to reform hospice payments so there is an incentive to reduce long-stay patients. The commission will vote on these and other recommendations in mid-January before releasing its report to Congress on March 15.