Delaware lawmakers consider hospital cost review board

A bill that would create a hospital cost review board has passed Delaware's state House, Delaware Online reported May 22.

The bill, which has faced "aggressive opposition" by stakeholders, would create the Diamond State Hospital Cost Review Board to prevent healthcare costs from growing unsustainably. The state's per capita healthcare spending increased 8.9% from 2021 to 2022 – the highest in the region, according to the report.

Hospitals would be expected to submit documents such as budgets for the forthcoming year, spending and revenue data for the previous year, scope and volume of services, new programs or services for the upcoming year, and projected three -year capital budget. The board would not immediately influence a hospital's budget. A hospital would only be reviewed by the board if it does not meet the state benchmarks three years in a row. At that point, hospitals will be required to submit performance improvement plans. Hospitals that fail to provide information or adhere to the standards of the budget review process would face a civil penalty of up to $500,000.

The hospital spending board would impact seven hospitals and systems in the state: ChristianaCare, Bayhealth Kent, Bayhealth Sussex, Beebe, Nanticoke, St. Francis and Nemour's Children's Hospital.

The board will be made up of six members appointed by the governor as well as the executive director of the Delaware Healthcare Association.

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