Massachusetts Hospitals Set to Receive $275M More Per Year in Medicare Payments

With a new amendment added to the healthcare law, Massachusetts hospitals are primed to receive $275 million more per year in Medicare payments, according to a Boston Globe report.

The amendment, co-sponsored by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), requires Medicare to reimburse all Massachusetts hospitals for employee wages at the rate it pays Nantucket (Mass.) Cottage Hospital, the report said. Wages are high at NCH because it is on an isolated island with a high cost of living.

However, the increase for Medicare hospital wage reimbursements is to be fixed nationally instead of on a state-by-state basis, and this will result in a decrease in Medicare payments in other states. The report said this has angered hospitals in other parts of the country, calling the amendment "political hardball." President of the Missouri Hospital Association Herb Kuhn said the small, island-bound Nantucket hospital is "having a profound impact on hospital payments across the country," the report said.

However, Sen. Kerry and other backers of the provision said when CMS changed its Medicare wage reimbursement rules five years ago, Massachusetts lost a lot of ground while "the rest of the country gained at our expense," he said in the report.

Read the Boston Globe report on Massachusetts hospitals and Medicare.

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