CMS policy leads to decreased billing rates for CAUTIs, VCAIs

A 2008 CMS hospital-acquired conditions policy that limits additional payments for conditions deemed reasonably preventable appears to be linked to immediate reductions in billing rates for vascular catheter-associated infections and catheter-associated urinary tract infections, according to a study published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

To examine whether the CMS policy was associated with decreases in billing rates for VCAIs and CAUTIs, researchers assessed billing rates for more than 560 Medicare patient admissions to hospitals subject to the policy in California, Massachusetts and New York.

Before the policy, billing rates for VCAIs and CAUTIs were increasing but, during the study, the researchers found the policy was associated with an immediate drop in billing rates for both conditions. In the post-policy period, they observed a decreasing trend in the billing rate for VCAIs and a leveling-off in the billing rate for CAUTIs.

The researchers noted, however, that the billing rates may not correlate with changes in clinically meaningful patient outcomes and may reflect changes solely in coding practices.



More articles on CAUTIs:
Parkland slashes CLABSI, CAUTI, SSI rates through HAI reduction program
University of Missouri Health Care uses EHRs to reduce CAUTIs
Study highlights CAUTI risk factors, including catheter insertion location

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