A bipartisan group of House members led by Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) plans to introduce a bill that would require CMS to provide certain health IT incentives to each campus in a multicampus hospital system, Modern Healthcare reports (Daly, Modern Healthcare, 6/1).
Under the 2009 economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR systems can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.
CMS' final rule on the meaningful use program calls for incentive payments to be distributed to hospitals according to their Medicare provider numbers, not their individual campuses. Under the rule, a multicampus system with one Medicare provider number will receive an incentive payment as if it were a single unit, even if it has several hospitals (iHealthBeat, 8/2/10).
Taking Issue With Payment Structure
In a recent letter to their congressional colleagues, the bipartisan group of House members state that CMS' existing health IT incentive payment structure is problematic. The letter states, "For hospital systems with multiple hospital campuses under the same provider number, this means a significant reduction in provider payments that will make the development of required health IT systems more difficult."
The group of lawmakers note that the American Hospital Association and the Association of American Medical Colleges support their plans to introduce a bill on the issue.
Federal officials say their plan to provide health IT incentives based on Medicare provider numbers is consistent with previous federal rules that affect hospitals.
Officials also note that any modification of the payment structure would require legislative authorization (Modern Healthcare, 6/1).