CMS to Extend Low-Volume, Medicare-Dependent Hospital Payment Programs

CMS has issued an interim final rule including an extension for certain Medicare reimbursement policies for small, rural hospitals.

In accordance with the Pathway for SGR Reform Act of 2013, the rule extends the Medicare Dependent Hospital and Low-Volume Hospital programs through the first six months of fiscal year 2014 (through March 31).

Both programs expired this past October. The American Hospital Association and Brentwood, Tenn.-based LifePoint Hospitals — which operates 60 hospital campuses in 20 states, mostly in rural areas — advocated last year for the extension of the reimbursement provisions.

The MDH Program provides special reimbursement rates to hospitals that serve high volumes of Medicare patients. A hospital qualifies for the MDH Program if it is located in a rural area, has 100 beds or fewer, is not a "sole community hospital" and has at least 60 percent of inpatient days or discharges covered by Medicare.

Meanwhile, the LVH Program affects hospitals in rural communities that may not serve a high-volume of patients. These hospitals get enhanced reimbursements if they are more than 15 road miles from another comparable hospital and have less than 1,600 Medicare discharges per year.

More Articles on Medicare Payments:
LifePoint to Congress: Extend Medicare Rural Reimbursement Policies
AHA to Congress: Extend Rural Medicare Provisions
CMS Extends Rural Hospital Pay Adjustment Through FY 2013 

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